Monday, December 31, 2007

CFL v/s Filament Bulbs


Here is one of a series

of comparison articles
on CFL Bulbs

I thought that photographing two bulbs lit up side by side might be a simple and graphical way of demonstrating the differences between types.

In the above photograph you see, on the left, a 9 watt CFL bulb from AvocaLite, and on the right is a regular filament bulb rated at 25 watts.

The CFL bulb is using approximately one third of the power of the filament lamp but it is obvious, at a glance, that it is giving out 2 to 3 times more light.

After a few minutes running, the cfl bulb was warm but not hot to the touch, while the filament bulb was a bit too hot to handle with ease.


  • CFL brighter by far for much less power.
  • CFL bulb much cooler and therefore safer.
  • Colour of light very yellow in filament bulb while the CFL had a pleasing soft white colour of light.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

AirOption CoreTech Comment on Comment


Comment on AirOption / CoreTech Claim

Commenting on the phenomenal heating efficiency claim made by AirOption / CoreTech outlined in "Heating a Room with a 100 watt Bulb"
"brian t" said...

Sure, you can heat a room with low amounts of power... with certain assumptions. They haven't said anything about the room itself: well-insulated? The amount of heat lost through the walls and ceiling are central to this question. I think they're also assuming that no-one ever enters or leaves the room...

Editorial Comment on comment!!

I would agree with you Brian completly on a basic science level. However, I have found that science has a weird way of contradicting itself with new discoveries from time to time. These guys might just have stumbled on something right on the edge. Then again, they might not.

One thing for sure, they are VERY sensitive to publicity, other than their own version. In fact, they have WARNED me off asking them any further questions. Sounds like their letter was written by a solicitot does it not??

Here is their contribution to the art of communication, and to the understanding of science, as experienced by this blogger:

... it appears that we are attracting the type of notice we don’t want. In view of this we will be making no further statements whatsoever in relation to our product or technology until such time as we see fit.

All information or other matters given are strictly proprietary and their publication or misrepresentation are forbidden.

We would thank you therefore to be careful in how you may represent or misrepresent all matters relating to
Airoption Ltd.

Thank you,
Airoption Ltd


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CFL Bulbs - comments


A Comment
CFL Bulbs

Blogger "cflblues" in a comment on "Lady of the CFL Lamps" which was posted by me on December 10th last. Link below:


It is inaccurate to say that 95%of the energy generated by a traditional light bulb is wasted, this is heat that is dispersed around your home the same as any other heat source, so if you remove this you have to replace it using more of your oil, gas, etc. in winter.

Also cfl bulbs in my experience do not last nearly as long as the manufacturers claim even under normal working conditions, this should be the focus for debate, the quality of the product and the price not just sweeping statements about energy saving light bulbs, I have a house full of these bulbs but I think we are being conned by the manufacturers.

Editorial Comment:

"cflblues" is assuming you already have calculated in the need for several hundred watts of extra heat from light bulbs into your heat loss calculations. He/She has also conveniently forgotten that in summertime you could do without those extra heat sources. In fact you might be using extra power, by way of air conditioning, to get rid of the surplus heat.

My calculated experience with CFL bulbs is that they last well up to the manufacturers specifications. I date a cfl bulb with a pencil mark on the white plastic base, so when it fails, I have an exact days in use, plus a reasonably accurate calculation of hours in usetime.

I fear that "sweeping statements" without much scientific basis, is exactly what "cflblues" is indulging in him/herself while appearing to blame others for it.

Finally, I have NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that CFL Bulbs save money, time, and carbon emissions. They also give a superior quality of light, and are safer in use, they will not cause a fire if a curtain should blow over a lighted lamp. I say go for them and save yourself a packet and the environment at the same time.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Electric Cars with a 2000Km Range?


This damn Ugly Subaru could run for 2000Km on a Charge

Stanford University New Centre have announced a new type of Lithium Ion Battery with 10 times the storage capacity of current types. It uses Nano Technology to achieve these impressive capacity figures. Nano Technology is starting to change a lot of things. it could well be this age will be called the nano technology Age!!

The implication of these new batteries are that your laptop that now runs for 2 hours on a charge, would last for 20 hours instead.

The biggest breakthrough however might be in electric cars. The main problem has long been one of a good enough battery that would take sufficient charge for long journeys. Most electric cars are fast and fairly powerful but can make only 150 to 200Km journeys at most before needing to be re-charged.

With one of these new batteries fitted, a similar car could run for up to 2000Km before re-charging. This would put the electric car into a completely new category, making it attractive to a much wider customer base.

Exciting stuff this Nano technology. Nano Nano!!!!

Here is a link to the Stanford site:


New Study on Wind Power Stability


Wind Energy more Reliable that First Thought

A new study published by Stanford University Press has shown that large-scale wind-farm grid interlinking helps to balance out local power fluctuations and gives a stability of power nearly as good as that provided by other generation methods.

The finding would suggest that there would be no great need for battery or other storage methods, as the varying winds conditions over larger areas would balance out the power generated to the grid.

The power fluctuation of wind has long been an argument against its wider use in national grids. This study however would suggest the opposite and may hopefully open some doors to wider use of this excellent clean power source in the halls of power throughout the world.

Here is a link to the original article:


Monday, December 17, 2007

Heating a Room with a 100watt Bulb??


Heating a Room with a 100watt Bulb??

Just had it pointed out to me that I again did not give an address for AirOption and CoreTech. And, oh yes, it is the same company that is in the article on turbine prices.

Here is the CoreTech address:

Here is the general address for AirOption:


Phenomenal Heating Claim by AirOption


Heating a Room with a 100 watt Bulb???

A small Irish company in Ireland has made a very dramatic and sensational claim for a heating system which they have developed. If they are correct in their claim, the system is more efficient than geo-thermal heating systems, and yet is a fraction of the cost and almost maintenance free.

The phenomenal claim by AirOption –CortTech on their Website states that it is a new concept in heating which has been in development over a 5 years period, and has been under test for 2 years. AirOption state that the systems have “shown some astonishing results”.

  • The Coretech system is an electrical under floor heating system
  • It is ON 24/7 for 8 months of the year.
  • CoreTech state regarding the comfort level of the systems; “no other heating system can boast such levels of comfort and control.”

Case Studies:

CoreTech state that:
  • the test house was built 2 years ago
  • and has been using CoreTech heating connected to the ESB mains.

The stated efficiecies.

  • For an 1800 square foot house
  • provided with 8 months of heating
  • switched on for 24/7, and producing levels of comfort above any other heating system, “no other heating system can boast such levels of comfort and control.”
  • The usage is only 3572 Kw/Hours for 8 months of 24hours a day heating to above average comfort levels.

The Maths
  • 8 months or say 240 days
  • x 24 hours per day = 5760 hours
  • 3572 Kilo Watt Hours divided by 5760 hours
  • That's an average of only 620 Watts per hour to heat a complete house!!!!!!!!!!
That is like saying an average equivalent of a 100-watt bulb in each room will keep the house at an above average level of comfort. This is either one of the mot important discoveries ever in heating efficiency or it is a load of rubbish produced by faulty science.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Wind Turbine Prices


A Look at Wind Turbine Prices

I have been looking at some prices for wind turbines recently and making some comparisons.

One turbine I looked at is the UNITRON 3.3 Kw Grid Connect Turbine made in India AFAIK. The address etc. Address: Air Port Road, Pune, Maharashtra India 411 O32. Telephone: +91-20-2668 4399. FAX: +91-20-2668 7006. Web Site:

Irish Price.

AirOption Ireland offer this turbine as a complete package at €9,200 ex. VAT and Delivery - I am not sure if the "Complete Package" actually inclused installation costs this is not clear from the web site, somehow I think not, because they then add on delivery costs and that would not really be a complete package would it? You then have to add in the delivery costs to the above price.

African Price.

The same turbine is available in Nigeria from The quoted price is in dollars, US dollars, I presume. Turbine price is $5,500 or €3,746 Euros. The total installed price $11,074 or €7,541 Euro. That is €1659 or almost 20% cheaper than the Irish price, that's assuming the Irish price is inclusive of all installation costs. If the installation costs are extra on the AirOption price then the Irish price would be way dearer.

The Unitron Nigerian web site is:


Sun Tower


Just a reminder of how beautiful solar power can be.
The solar tower at SanLukar La Mayor east of Seville


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

7000 Wind Turbines at Sea


7000 Wind Turbines at Sea for UK

UK Business Secretary John Hutton has plans to allow 7000 new wind turbines around the coastline of the UK. Power enough to keep every UK home going.

"It is going to change our coastline", but said the issue of climate change was "not going away". Now that’s what I call an energy plan. About time someone took the energy crisis seriously.

Overlooking the Biggest Source of Energy??

This lot may be overlooking the fact that the single biggest source of energy some 3850 Zeta Joules of it per year in fact – is the local nuclear furnace none other than the sun. Even in cold old Blighty or Ireland, the sun puts down masses of energy every day, even in mid winter. We only need to capture a tiny proportion of it to fill all our energy needs forever more.

We only need .013% of this Energy

The total energy used by humans in 2004 was .471 Zeta Joules. With 3850 zeta Joules hitting the planet we would need to capture only .013% of that energy to supply every toaster, fridge, washing machine, and heater on the planet.

So how do we do that? Solar Electricity is the main upcoming idea. PV Solar cells used to cost $7.50 a watt in 1990. That came down to around $4.00 a watt in 2005. Now the figure is looking like 40 cents per watt or less. At that price it would really pay to cover every roof in a city with solar cells. That city then could be largely self-powering.

What would it take? It would take balls on the part of the politicians to call the shots. It would take a lot of money, and it would take willingness on the part of the people.

That is all it would take.




I did it again - Sorry!!
I neglected to give the Web Address for AvocaLite
Here it is:


Monday, December 10, 2007

Lady of the CFL Lamps


The Lady of the Lamps

Jennifer Mc Clurg is from South Africa and has been living in Ireland now for 7 years. She has a real interest in the environment and sustainable energy. She runs a very helpful and highly ethical small business called Avocalite, situated in the village of Avoca in County Wicklow, selling CFL and LED low powered and environmentally friendly light bulbs. (Hence the title) I found Jennifer to be very open, honest, and communicative about her business, something that is not common enough in the business world today. AvocaLite is a business whose time has come.

Jennifer’s light emporium offers very good prices indeed, better than most stores in Ireland, a high quality product, and additionally offers advice and assistance. That is why I am happy to focus this Blogs little positive spotlight on AvocaLite.

I recently spoke to Jennifer and asked some question about her business and how she felt about the recent Greenish Irish Budget.

Here is the outcome of that conversation:

Q. Jennifer can you tell me a bit about how you got into selling CFL bulbs?
A. Firstly perhaps I should draw your readers attention to the fact that you and your blog have no association whatsoever with AvocaLite. We do however share a concern for the environment and of course the need to conserve energy and dwindling energy resources.

You asked how AvocaLite came about. Well - after moving into our house in Avoca village my husband and I began replacing the old bulbs with CFL bulbs. Our rationale for the change was to benefit from reduced energy consumption and the resultant drop in electricity costs. Interestingly enough, we found it hard to buy bulbs that looked good, functioned well and were reasonably priced - so we started AvocaLite.

That was easier said than done as reliable suppliers of good quality, affordable products had to be put in place, as well as a mechanism for distributing goods to buyers. Fortunately CFL and LED bulbs are a lot more robust than conventional bulbs so delivery through the mail allowed us to save on more traditional retail distribution methods. With time and research we have managed to secure a line of bulbs that are of excellent quality and give an instant light.

We have tried hard to inject good old-fashioned values into the business which gives us a great rapport with our customers, many of whom, especially in the accommodation arena, have proved themselves very aware of the ever increasing costs of electricity and the need to conserve power.

Q. How do you feel about the latest Budget and especially the banning of filament bulbs by January 2009?
A. We are of course very pleased about the recent announcement in the budget. First of all the timeframe, which some may see as overly generous, does allow consumers a good amount of time to exchange their lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs. Secondly it demonstrates a growing awareness on the part of officialdom that something does need to be done at top level to protect our environment. Electricity production is a huge drain on our resources and any move to reduce consumption is to be welcomed. And in the case of lightbulbs, which in the conventional form are only around 5% effective, the end saving, both to the economy as a whole as well as to end-users, is likely to be significant.

Q. Why do you believe CFL bulbs are so important?
A. Compact fluorescent light bulbs up to 15 times longer than the traditional incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use only 20% of the electricity that a traditional light bulb does, 5% of the energy that a traditional light bulb uses is translated into light. A shocking 95% of the energy that is paid for is wasted.

EDITORS NOTE: Green Party’s Mr. Gormley said, CFL lighting will save ESB customers some €185,000,000 in electricity charges per year, and also result in carbon emissions being reduced by up to 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and all that from household lighting alone.

An average house with say ten 100watt bulbs going for say 8 hours a day during the winter would cost roughly €33.00 in a month. By fitting all CFL bulbs that electricity cost would be reduced immediately to only €6.60 a month a saving of €26.40 a month.

10 CFL bulbs, with the same light as 100watt ordinary bulbs, would cost from Avocalite €3.75 each or a total of €37.50. You would have the cost of fitting CFL bulbs back in energy savings in about 6 weeks of winter lighting costs.

Given that these CFL bulbs last between 6 and 15 times longer than ordinary bulbs, your savings will increase still further on the replacement cost of bulbs. On top of that, you will save the time, work, and hassle of buying and fitting bulbs every few months.

Q. Any final remarks about the Budget or CFL Bulbs?
A. Remember when changing lightbulbs make sure that the correct bulb is selected, taking into account the shape and size that is needed as well as the correct base. Avocalite sells globes with the Edison Screw Cap base and the Bayonet Cap base. Some lamps or chandaliers may require a smaller base size - referred to as a SES (Small Edison Screw) or SBC (Small Bayonet Cap). These are also readily available which means that any of the traditional shaped incandescant globes can be replaced without difficulty. The costs of replacement, so often looked on as a reason for not doing so, are not that significant and generally can be recovered after a few months use of the replacement CFL bulbs which also have the added advantage of a considerably longer in-use life.

As our response to the budget announcement and as a way of extending Season's wishes to your readers we would like to offer a 5% discount on all products bought up until the end of December 2007. Use the discount voucher code HappyChristmas

Jennifer also has high power 30 watt CFL bulbs that give the same light as 150 watt filqament bulbs, CFL spot lamps, and there are the new Micro CFL bulbs which are very compact and suitable for special lamps and other fittings.

There you have it folks top quality CFL bulbs at bargain prices and a 5% discount for readers of this blog.


WoodPellet Prices v/s Oil Prices


WoodPellet Prices v/s Oil Prices

The current price of wood pellets in Ireland varies a great deal from dealer to dealer. If you have bulk storage, you can take advantage of much lower prices. However, if you have to depend on bagged fuel you will pay a large premium.

One of the most expensive dealers I have found is They advertise bagged pellets delivered at €349 per tonne. Kerry Bio Fuels, on the other hand, have bagged pellets at €280 per tonne, and what they call bulk bagged, in very large sacks, at €245 per tonne.

Are Wood Pellets a Saving over Oil?

In terms of heat output, 2 tonnes of wood pellets approximately equals 1000 litres of heating oil.

Heating oil prices are currently running at between €680 and €710 per 1000 litres.

If you had to buy your pellets from EcoPellets, it would be costing you as much or even some more than oil to heat your home. €349 x 2 tonnes = €698. At Kerry Bio Fuels prices €280 x 2 tonnes €560 you would be saving €120 against the price of a 1000 litres of oil.

Most homes will use one and a half fills of oil in a season 1500 Litres the cost of that is approximately €1020. If the same house was using wood pellets from EcoPellets, the bill would come to €1047. And if the home used Kerry Bio Fuels pellets the bill would be €840 for the season.

On the basis of these figures – it would not make economic sense to switch from oil heating to wood pellet heating. You would have an outlay of about €3000 to €6000 on top of the SEI grant. On the basis of the modest savings from Kerry Bio Fuels prices at €180 per season, it would take you 16 years to recover your investment at current fuel prices.

You would have to be a really committed “Green” to make the hefty investment in the equipment; the grant is well diluted by the higher Irish prices, and then end up paying more for the fuel as a result of your good intentions and investment in the environment.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Budget and Bulbs Ireland


Ireland to ban Old-type Light Bulbs by 2009

Is Ireland beginning to wake up to energy issues?? The recent budget had two small signs of intelligent life in it. 1. A car purchase tax based on emissions, and 2. The banning of filament bulbs by 2009.

Well done Brian Cowen!! But what about grant aided insulation in older buildings - that would save much more than CFL bulbs.

What about a massive investment, say 10% GDP, in nationally owned, wind, solar, wave, and bio-mass energy production to buffer the looming oil crisis?? Now that would be a budget to write up about.


Monday, December 03, 2007

InnovaLight & Great Solar Race


InnovaLight in the Great Solar Race

Conrad Burke CEO InnovaLight and Arnie Oct 2007

I have had further contact with Conrad Burke CEO of InnovaLight. He has been kind enough to send me some material for publication and to answer some direct questions on the position of their technology in the big race.

Here are the questions I sent him and the answers:

Q. InnovaLight, I understand, uses Silicone in small quantities on nanotubes - has this advantages over NanoSolar's dye based technology? i.e Efficiency, length of life, stability, heat coefficient, electrical properties, etc.?
A. Just to clarify, it is silicon (not silicone; big difference). NanoSolar is using CIGS technology which is fundamentally different (it is a blend of 5 elements - Copper, Indium, Galium and Selenium and some Cadmium. Silicon (which is 95% of market today) has shown itself to have higher efficiencies. The only other technology with higher efficiencies are GaAs (concentrators and space applications).

Q. How does the projected end-cost of InnovaLight Nano-Silicone compare to NanoSolar’s materials? NanoSolar are suggesting prices as low as 30c US per watt.
A. Again Silicon (not silicone). I cannot comment on Nanosolar’s claims as I don’t know what they are doing.

Q. Has InnovaLight got working test projects in the field?
A. No, we are in development still.

Q. Roughly, what will the final product look like?? Flexible, Plastic-based?, Metal-based?, Thickness?, How tough?
A. It will be drop in replacement for what is in market today.

Q. What market place does InnovaLigt see it's product mainly aimed at?
A. Commercial and residential – that is 95 percent of market.

InnovaLight would appear to be running with the long-term proven, and higher efficiency technology of “Silicon” (got it right this time!). By using only tiny quantities of this expensive element, they will make the savings on the final production cost. With higher output efficiencies, the panels will take up less area for the same power output.

InnovaLight are going to be slower out of the starting traps in the big race but one to watch because their product is based on the very well proven technology of silicon.

I want to thank InnovaLight and especially Conrad Burke for being so helpful, open, and accomodating in their communications, and I wish them every success in the Big Solar Cell Race.


Friday, November 30, 2007

The Great Solar Cell Race is ON!


The Great Race

Since writing the last piece on the new solar electric panels, I have been gathering information on just a few of the runners in this Great Solar Race.

A few weeks ago I wrote up a short piece on Innovalight and their CEO Conrad Burke. I spoke to Mr. Burke today who promised to send me some news of where his company is in the Solar Race.

Some of the other players of note in the field are; Signet Solar, Ava Solar, Nano Sys,, and Solaris, just to mention a few.

I have a feeling that this is going to be one hell of a technological race. The prize is huge and the implications will reverbrate throughout history.

There appears to be two distinct lines of development in the basic science involved. 1. Silicone Based, and 2. Non Silicone or Dye based. I am very uninformed in the science of solar cells but I will be doing a lot of reading in the next few weeks. What I learn, I will try to translate from TechnoSpeak into English, and will post the results right here.

I am getting very excited about this new Solar Cell Tecnology.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

NanoSolar The New “Microsoft” of Solar Cells?


NanoSolar The New “Microsoft” of Solar Cells?

Think of a solar panel without the bulky panel. Just a thin coated sheet, little thicker than a credit card. The coating material is where the trick lies - it is the new nano technology at work.

This light tough flexible sheeting can easily be mounted onto roofs, walls, garden sheds, fences etc. The daylight does not have to be very sunny or the sun does not need to be at all warm in order to make electricity. These new photocells will make power in freezing cold sunny conditions almost as well as in hot sunshine. It is light intensity not heat that does the work. They are much more efficient than the older type of cell, they are also much more robust, they are lighter by far, and they are much – much cheaper.

Entire Cities Self-Powered

You could have entire buildings covered in these solar electric sheets. Indeed entire cities could be self powered by cladding all the roofs and buildings.

We are all familiar with PV solar panels, they have been around for a long time. Your little calculator that needs no batteries, your solar garden lights that charge up from the sun, up to hugely expensive large power generating solar installations that you may read about.

The factors that have kept solar electricity from being widely utilised are; 1. Cost, they have been very expensive, 2. Fragile plus difficult to mount and handle, 3. Low efficiency.

The new nano technology is about to bring the cost of solar panels way down, by tens or even hundreds of times, to the point where going solar will be cheaper, and of course cleaner, than burning coal to make power. That is what thin-film nano technology solar cells hold as promise. Solar power will become vastly widespread because it will be so cheap and so easy to install.

A New Technological Revolution.

This is a technological revolution, which promises to be on a similar scale to the Silicone Valley revolution of the seventies and eighties. Way back the cost of computer chips was so high that thieves took to breaking into offices to steal – not the computers – but the memory chips. Weight for weight they were more expensive than gold. Now you can buy a 1 gigabyte memory chip for around €30 or less, back then that much memory would have cost well in excess of €10,000.

The computer chip example might provide you with a historical example of what is about to happen with PV Solar Cells. The price of the new panels will come down to perhaps 30 US cents per watt that is 21 Euro cent in the next year or so. An array of 6 kilowatts, enough to power the average home would cost a mere €1260 – then free power for life!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course there would be other investment costs such as installation costs, inverters, and perhaps storage batteries. It is an investment I would borrow to buy into.

The new day is about to dawn when all these radical changes will be a reality, because Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar, and others like them, have created the manufacturing technology that can make it all happen.

The company are already producing nano solar cells with printing-press type machines that spray a coating of light absorbing ink onto lightweight metal foil at a speed of several hundred feet per minute.

Investment Opportunities?

Nanosolar has built one of the world’s biggest PV solar-panel factories in San Jose. When it reaches full production it will churn out some 430 megawatts worth of solar cells a year. That is the equivanent of 200 of those big wind turbines in terms of power.

They have another factory in the pipeline in Europe. Some of the first produce will be used in Europe to build a 1.4-megawatt solar power plant in 2008. The revolution has started.

There will be some serious money to be made by investing in this technological revolution, just as there was in the Silicone Valley of the seventies and eighties. You have all heard of the millions made by those who invested a few thousand in Microsoft in the early days. The trick will be in picking the “Microsoft” or the “Intel” horses from the field that are running.

Watch this space.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Renewable Energy Grants Ireland


SEI and the Irish Renewable Energy Grant System

I have in the past extensively dealt with the Irish renewable energy grant system run by SEI and IMHO its disastrous effect on the Irish alternative energy market place.

It is time again for me to take a look at the situation, what with the lowering of the grant amounts and with new players coming into the marketplace.

Are we better off or not? Have the new players made any difference? Would I now go for my wood pellet system?

Stay tuned to this channel folks, I am working on these questions and will post the results in the near future.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sun Power - Sun Flower


Did you notice the SunFlower??

A stray sunflower seed at the fence gives us the contrast of
man and natures ways of harvesting the suns rays


Solar Power


Solar Power Plant Pictures

Here is a detail of the Big Mirrors at SanLucar La Mayor which track the sun
the boffins call them "Heliostats" I much prefer the name "Girasol",
after the Spanish for sunflower

The facility at SanLucar has two other means of harvesting the suns rays,
in this photo you see a PV Cell array.


Friday, November 23, 2007

SunTower SunFlower

Beautiful Power

Lord of the Rings type Magic Tower.

We are just back from a short holiday on the Costa Del Sol Spain. While there we made a 3+ hour pilgrimage to an area some 25 Km west of Seville, in the municipality of SanLukar La Mayor to see a “solar tower”.

Sunflower Suntower.

Sunflower in Spanish is “Girasol” which means, more or less, “track sun”. It was strangely significant for me, in an area where one of the main agricultural crops are sunflowers, to see the sun being harvested in a super high-tech and visually beautiful way.

Light from Light.

The solar tower stand some 115 meters or 337 feet high and is surrounded in a semi-circle of 600+ huge morrors. Each mirror is 120 Sq Meters and tracks the sun like the millions of locally grown sunflowers in the surrounding fields. All the beams converge at a point near the top of the tower.

This heat collecting area is intensly bright and heated to super high temperatures which drive the generator turbines on the top of the tower.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

MagLev Wind Turbines


The Mini and the Mega
MagLev Turbines

Artists impression of the US MEGA Turbine

New designs in wind turbines are emerging from at least two directions. One in China, where small scale MagLev turbines with outputs up to 5Kw are being produced, to an Arizona based company MagLev Turbine Technology are planning the concept on the GRAND scale.
The idea is that these turbines would have very little bearing friction and would therefore operate at very low wind speeds and require much less maintenance. Speeds as low as a 3.3-MPH breeze have been mentioned.

These efficiencies will allow cheaper power generation. The company are claiming that its design is so efficient that it can produce power for less than 2 cent per kilowatt hour.

The Mega

The US company have plans to gear up to a MASSIVE sized baby. The makers are looking at a 1000 MegaWatt Turbine - a giga-watt turbine - hard to swallow that one, power for a fair sized city!!!

If one is to believe the hoopla and the thing actually works it would mark a big advance in turbine design. The publicity claims that the turbine's operational costs are 50% less than other large-scale wind turbines, and that they can generate 20% more power.
I hope this is not another Steorn, Airoption CoreTech, moving statue phenomena.

The Mini

In China construction has begun on the world's largest production base for magnetic levitation (maglev) wind power generators. The base will produce a series of maglev wind power generators with capacities ranging from 400watt up to 5Kw (mini-turbines for the back garden sort of thing).

The Chinese maglev generator co-developed by the company and Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences is expected to create new opportunities for harnessing wind power in low-wind-speed areas, as it can utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second.

The blurb says that the frictionless maglev generator would cut the operational expenses of wind farms by up to half, keeping the overall cost of wind power under 3.7 Euro cent per kilowatt-hour.

Hope these ideas are for real.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New Subaru 200Km Electric Car

Subaru has announced a new electric car the G4e which is a 5 seat car. Thing thats different about this electric car is the new 346 volt modified lithium – vanadium battery which can give 200Km or 124 miles on a charge. The battery can be rapidly charged in just 15 minutes to 80% capacity. The vanadium material can store two to three times more lithium ions than the regular type of battery. The car also boaster a maintenance free 65 Kw electric motor - I like the sound of that, maintenance-free.

Apart from being almost maintenance free, the other big saving is on juice. Electric cars run at about one tenth the cost. For anyone making relatively short journeys this could be one good investment.

Only caveat that comes to mind is how safe and reliable this new battery is. If they offered a 5 year guarantee on the battery plus a staggered replacement cost after that, it would answer that one.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Kerry 100% Wind Powered?

County Kerry has 100% Power Needs in Wind

Has nothing to do with the story just took my attention

I learned that General Electric is investing in a 120 Mega-Watt wind farm in which will be built in Texas. It would seem that Texas because of its open flat lands is an increasingly attractive area for wind turbines. Building commenced this summer and is expected to be completed by April next. The wind farm will have 80 1.5 MegaWatt GE wind turbines. It will produce enough power for an estimated 37,000 homes.

According to GE. all power will be sold in the Texas market. Now that’s an idea for Ireland - selling the power where it is generated!!!

Kerry is already self-sufficient in wind power. All that is needed to complete the effectiveness are some Redox battery storage installations, and the “Kingdom” of Kerry could declare independence, from the national grid that is, and have cheaper power to boot!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

GeoThermal on a Big Scale


Private GeoThermal on a Large Scale

A company called S├╝ddeutsche Geothermie-Projekte GmbH part owned and financed by Hochtief, plan to build and operate the first entirely privately financed Geo-Thermal power plant in Germany.

The company will build and operate a 5 megawatt facility with an investment €35 million which will be located in D├╝rrnhaar in Bavaria.

According to publicity by the company, theoretically, geothermal energy plants could provide Germany‘s annual electricity consumption 600 times over. SGG also intends to use the hot water tapped in the earth‘s crust for combined heating and power and provide heat to households and industrial users in the vicinity of the power plants.

Look at that drill bit!!

Another subsidiary, Streif Baulogistik, is investing in a 52-meter tall drilling rig for drilling the boreholes, which are up to 5,000 meters deep.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wood Pellet Boiler Burner Price Update


October 2007
Danish and German
Wood Pellet Boiler prices


A 16 Kw Boink Boiler Burner and Feed-screw set in Denmark including their higher 25% VAT is €3421 incl. tax.

A Boink 16Kw burner unit on its own is €1928 inc. tax. A 24Kw Boink burner unit is €2095 incl. 25% Danish VAT.


A Scotte 15Kw boiler, burner and feed-screw set in Germany incl German VAT Oct 2007 price is €3265 inclusive.

How do these compare with Ireland rip-off pricing for 2007??


Friday, October 19, 2007

Solar Cells Under 50 cents per Watt


Solar Panels at 36 Euro Cent per Watt!!!

Conrad Burke, an Irishman, is the CEO of US company called Innovalight. The company have developed a new way of making Photo Voltaic Solar Panels using a special printing technique. The ink used to print the active substance on the panels is a secret recipe using nano-technology, the new buzzword in science.

Innovalight creates nano-particles of silicon that it uses to make the special ink which can then be sprayed, by inkjet type process, onto the backing panels. The results will be something that looks not too different from other solar cells, except that they will be substantially faster to produce and much, much cheaper because a great deal less silicone is used in the process.

Solar cells at less than 50 US Cents per Watt!!

The company believes the technology has the potential to get solar cell prices well below 50cents US per watt. The current retail price for solar cells in the US is just under $5 per watt.
Innovalight has recently had $28 million in funding pumped into it. The company, based in Santa Clara, intends to start selling its new solar cells in 2009.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Biomass Gasification


Major Development of Biomass Energy Technology

Nexterra Energy Corp. ( has supplied its gasification technology as a key component of a US $16 million biomass cogeneration plant Johnson Controls is building for the University of South Carolina (USC).

Once operational, the gasification cogeneration facility will convert wood residue supplied by local sawmills into clean renewable energy that will help the university become more energy self-sufficient, reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and lower energy costs. At peak capacity, the plant will generate 60,000 lbs/hr of steam which will be used to heat the campus, as well as 1.38 MW of electricity that will be sold to the grid.

Nexterra Energy Corp. and Johnson Controls have developed patented gasification technology converts biomass into clean burning syngas (Syngas (from synthesis gas) is the name given to a gas mixture that contains varying amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen generated by the gasification of a carbon containing fuel to a gaseous product with a heating value.) that can be used to replace natural gas or oil to generate heat and/or electricity. The companies jointly develop biomass gasification projects that will enable users to reduce energy costs, lower greenhouse gas emissions and become less reliant on fossil fuel by using locally sourced, renewable biomass fuel.

About Johnson Controls – Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) integrate technologies, products and services creating smarter environments. Our team of 140,000 employees creates a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world through our products and services. For additional information, please visit:

About Nexterra Energy Corp. – Nexterra Energy is a developer of advanced biomass gasification systems that enable customers to self-generate clean, low cost heat and/or power using waste fuels "inside-the fence" at institutional and industrial facilities. Nexterra is a private company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. For more information, please visit:


Friday, October 12, 2007

7.5 MW Wind Turbine Being Developed


Mega 7.5MW Wind Turbine Being Developed in the UK

Mega Clipper Wind Turbine

US company Clipper Windpower has announced that it is to develop the world's largest offshore wind turbine of 7.5 MegaWatts at Blyth, United Kingdom. These monsters will be used in the worlds larges off-shore wind farm planned to date. (Wonder for how long that will hold the Guinness Book of Records??)

They currently make a 2.5 MW turbine called the Liberty. The Liberty C100 has a tower of 80 meters height. The blades are 48.7 meters long. The diameter of the rotor is 100 meters. Compare that to a 747 jet which has a wind span of 64.4 meters - this baby's span is half as big again and this - is only the baby!!

I love this kind of technology - don't you?


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Plurion Battery further Comment


Some More Comment on Plurion

I have just received this further note from my last correspondent, it is enough to make me feel a bit uneasy if I had a lot of money stuck in the project:

Hi there,

And might I just add this thought (same request that confidentiality be respected);

Batteries are constantly being developed. Scientists in the battery industry know what data to look for: open circuit voltage; voltage under load (varying load); battery capacity for shallow and deep discharge; battery life (decrease in capacity with number of cycles); battery life - self-discharge; charging/discharging rates, variation in capacity with discharge rate. effect of ambient temperature on capacity.

Some of this data for the Plurion system was presented at the San Francisco 2002 Meeting. It seems none has been shown since. That a large-scale battery be due to be delivered, as Dr Vallance states, in approx. 12 months from now, without at least some such data being available, strains credulity. If Plurion have this data, there is absolutely no reason why they should not present it. If they're not in a position to do so, one must question just how far down the "development" road they really are.



Questions about Plurion the Technology and the Company


Some Questions about Plurion and their Battery

is one of the exciting looking technology in Redox Battery development. They are claiming some really useful advances in the reliability and capacity of this type of storage.

However, there are a number of questions regarding the actual technology and about the
provenance of the company itself. These questions have been very well articulated by one of the correspondents to this blog. This person wishes to remain anonymous, I would guess because of connections with the business and/or work contracts. I totally understand and respect this need for keeping the head below the parapet.

The views published are the opinions of an individual.

The Letter:

I don't know how much you know about Plurion, which started life in California, around 2001, raised $1.5 million from J F Mackie, of Calgary, and a similar amount from Berens Energy, also of Calgary. In the last case, Plurion changed its name to Berens. However the investors were unhappy and, I believe, asked for their money back - and the company changed its name again, back to Plurion.

The underlying technology seems attractive, more so in many ways than the similar technology, the vanadium redox battery, developed by VRBpowersystems in Vancouver. (all of this information is on the web, if you care to look for it). You'll also find a piece entitled "The curious history of Plurion" by Bill Jamieson, financial columnist of The Scotsman.

There's only one small question - does the technology actually work ? The only hard technical information I've been able to locate was a presentation given at a meeting in San Francisco, in April 2002. At one time, this was included in the Plurion website. The data there was extremely promising - incl. a scale-up to 1 sq. metre, which would in fact meet your domestic requirements. But since then, as far as I am aware, total silence for 5 and a half years. Which, given that these guys are skilled self-publicists, I find distinctly ominous. That there appears to have been nothing newsworthy for that length of time, none of the usual developmental milestones, is very odd.

As someone who has been in the field myself, I can guess what the problem might be - which is the behavior of the zinc, which doesn't always "recrystallise" in the fine-grain structure that is necessary. But that's only a guess.

Leaving Plurion aside, you'll know it is a subsidiary of AIC, Applied Intellectual Capital, an AIM stockmarket quoted company. The people behind AIC have a long and - believe me - chequered history of failed R&D companies. I have little doubt that AIC will fail, as did its predecessor companies.

In the October issue of "Chemistry World" is a newsbrief to the effect that a major US wind farm operator have placed an order for a storage battery. They chose the sodium sulfur system, and presumably only after having surveyed the field. VRB have, they state, obtained an order from an Irish windfarm operator. So leaving aside whatever technical problems there might be, Plurion now have a catch-up exercise as well. In terms of energy density, VRB score lowest, then Plurion, with sodium sulfur highest. You might not wish to have to store 2000 liters of electrolyte on your premises (not that it's hazardous, just a lot of liquid to store).

Feel free to use any of the above comments in your excellent blog, any way you choose, but not quoting me.

Many thanks for this very informative and question provoking essay.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wind Energy and Battery Storage - a follow-up


I am delighted to say that this important subject is receiving a good deal of attention, hits on the blog are up, and the e-mails are ticking away. Here is one of the letters I received from Alan Smith and the answer to it from Shay McGowan is reproduced below. Thank you both!!

The Letter:

Hi WoodPellet,

In the Essay Shay says: "The Sorne Hill Wind Farm will now receive €85 for each MW delivered to the grid, the same price as conventional electricity supply such as coal and gas. This will allow the projected rate of return (known as the IRR) to increase from the normal 9-11% to approximately 17.5% according to the study."

This is the only time that I have seen the 85Pounds a MW as a done deal.

The sale to Tapbury was conditional on Tapbury being able to negotiate the higher price.

Could you please give me a verification that it is indeed a done deal.
Or can you please ask Shay if I can communicate with him.

Thanks and Regards
Alan Smith

The Reply:

Mr. Alan Smith is quiet correct. I may have inadvertently sent you an older version of my essay. The sentence should read :

'The Sorne Hill Wind Farm could receive up to €85 for each MW delivered to the grid, the same price as conventional electricity supply such as coal and gas. This will allow the projected rate of return (known as the IRR) to increase from the normal 9-11% to approximately 17.5% according to the study.'

I'd appreciate if you could amend this on your blog.



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

EcoWatts - Airoption's Core Tech - Steorn


Over Unity Energy Devices and the Moving Statues Phenomena

For some time I have been considering the mind-set of the thousands of people world wide who are either directly involved with, or are born-again believers in over-unity energy claims such as; Steorn's "Orbo", Perendev's "Magenetic Motor", Airoption's "Core Tech" heating, or EcoWatts "Heater".

I do believe that the majority of the people involved are completely sincere and truly believe what they claim. At the same time, none of these projects, some of which have been in the pipeline for many years, have been clearly scientifically proven, nor have they become available for sale, complete with a 5 year money back warranty at WalMart etc.

I believe that what is happening is some form of mass hypnosis similar to what happens in religious circles on a regular basis. I refer to the phenomena of moving statues. This display of mass suggestion has been extensively detailed by the media in Ireland on several occasions. Many thousands of sincere people will swear to have seen a plaster stature move. I do believe that these people are telling the truth and truly accept the reality of their visions.

I have also attended several "shows" by "hypnotists" where people truly believed that they were bunny rabbits etc.

Suggestion is one factor, desire is another. Suggestion is a very powerful thing. Suggestion in a crowd that there is some immediate danger can cause a crush ending in many deaths. Powerful desire in a religious setting is the second factor that, I believe, contributes to collective visions. There is a huge desire to have a spiritual experience or a blessing or cure.

In the over unity situation we all (well most of us anyway) hope and want so badly to believe in free energy - the prize is just so attractive and desirable. Add peer suggestion to this need and IMHO you have a formula for "visions".

I still hope that science can prove some of these claims and that WalMart will have these gizmos for sale with money back guarantees soon!!!


Friday, October 05, 2007

Wind Energy and Battery Storage a Letter


I had an interesting letter from Kevin Cullen. I think you too might be interested in its content. Kevin has been kind enough to allow its publication and it is reproduced below.

My reply to Kevin:
Hi Kevin, Liked your letter and thank you for the nice words. The kudos however must go to Shay McGowan who wrote the essay - all I did was mess up the formatting attempting to get it to sit on the blog. May I publish your letter?? And if that is OK would you prefer anonymity or is it OK to credit you???


Dear Woodpellet,

A good read in your Wind Energy Intermittently and Grid Stability post on your blog.

I've been actively following the development of redox batteries and the company that's pushing its commercialization, Vancouver-based VRB Power, for the past four plus years. My google alert bots dutifully brought your contribution to my attention.

Your title touts a salient point that few people still realize about renewable power sources like wind or solar -- it's intermittentcy. Or as Alan Greenspan testified before Congress shortly after the August 2003 blackouts on the North American east coast, "utilities are an industry without inventory."

We can't effectively store mass quantities of electricity. That fact, combined that the wind doesn't blow all the time or when she does, demand might be very low, wind power has had to be "backed up" with convention generation facilities. All of which cost money. And that spells a very low price for wind power electricity for the simple economics that a utility needs a constant and reliable source of electricity -- and will pay a higher price for it.

Nonetheless, redox batteries -- for all their promise of a paradigm shift -- have hithertofore, had a most torturous business path. If you followed the history of these batteries from the labs of Skyllas-Kazacos to Australia's Vanteck and now the incarnation of the patents at Canadian VRB Power, this is still a technology that keeps promising" but has yet to deliver -- at least in terms successful commercialization.

Even the now not so recent Sorne Hill Wind Farm sale has yet to be commissioned -- and VRB paid.

For all the "demo" units and trial sales, the jury is very much out on whether these batteries can be successful commercialized. Or is its deployment "cusp" that much longer than most investors can wait?

You closed your posted noting the recent vanadium bromide research being done by Skyllas-Kazocos. You may wish to note that the former UK company Regenesys also pioneered a similar polysulfide-bromine chemistry now called the RGN-ESS. Except for the chemical composition of the two electrolytes, this flow battery exactly resembles the vanadium redox battery. Indeed, in a design commissioned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, a Regenesys system was slated to provide up to 12 MW of power output for hours at a time in batteries that were targeting huge electrical storage situations.

That project was never completed even though the storage tanks were constructed. Last I heard, the RGN-ESS suffers from cross-contamination of the two solutions across the membrane, giving the chemical solutions limited lifetime in use. As well, periodic maintenance is required to unblock the membranes. However, compared to a VRB-ESS, the RGN-ESS is capable of generating power at much lower cost. And much higher quantities.

Rengensys is gone, it patents now be licensed by VRB Power it a deal with the German utility REW. It's technology is still under development.

A couple of Phd tech type analysts have been championing this technology. Jonathan Hykawy penned this:

"An efficient storage technology for large amounts of electrical energy provides the basis for a complete change in the thinking surrounding power generation and use. Yet this same technology can be applied today to cost-effectively solve some existing problems.

VRB-ESS takes the solution into the scale of small power generators and individual users, while RGN-ESS has the potential to turn the power industry upside down. The result would be a world in which hydroelectricity and other Kyoto-friendly technologies (wind, nuclear, etc.) can be allowed to dominate the power generation landscape. If recent work on scenarios regarding the impact of greenhouse gases on our weather are correct, such a change may prove to be far more valuable than the simple economics of selling VRB-ESS or RGN-ESS systems would suggest.

We are confident that the technology developed by VRB Power is capable of being sold on an economic basis to motivated customers. We are confident that VRB Power has an attractive product ready for sale and has started to form the relationships necessary to successfully bring this product to the market. And, we are also confident that the future uses for both the VRB-ESS and the RGN-ESS hold even greater promise for investors."

Hykawy wrote that in March of 2005...with his "strong buy" recommendation.

And then there's MacMurray Whale -- touted by one newsletter writer as one of the best alternative energy analyst in N. America -- who recommended the company in March 2006. A copy of his (and Hykawy's) reports are attached.

By now you may be concluding that I'm bit cynical of the promise of vanadium redox's batteries. You would not be correct. What I am is much more cognizant that building a successful mousetrap is NOT the same thing as successfully commercializing it. That takes a lot, lot more time than most realize. Or longer than most investors can wait.

Indeed, if your reading this note on a PC, you may be interested in knowing that Windows 3.0 took over 8 years before an Microsoft graphic user interface start to sell in the market. And that was after a proven implementation of the GUI (called the Macintosh) was already out there.

Yes, vandium redox do hold tremendous "game changing" promise. Just don't say "holy grail." For that, I'll read Dan Brown.

Frazzled in Bangkok,

Kevin Cullen