Mixed Greens: Meet the New Energy Pioneers | RenewEconomy

Mixed Greens: Meet the New Energy Pioneers

BNEF’s 2012 world leadera in cleantech; Australia’s first solar EV charger; plenty of wind & sun for Petratherm’s clean energy precinct; and Dyesol’s Seoul window.


Bloomberg New Energy Finance has announced this year’s selection of New Energy Pioneers at its fifth annual BNEF Summit in New York City this week. The chosen companies – selected by an independent panel of industry experts from banking, academia, corporations, utilities and technology providers – are assessed against the criteria of potential scale, innovation and momentum. According to BNEF, each company also has innovative, proven technologies; robust business models; the ability to demonstrate traction and momentum in their activities; and the potential for global scale.

And the 2012 New Energy Pioneers are:

Clean Power Finance:  As the San Francisco-based firm says on its website, “over one third of the US solar industry uses our software or financing.” The company’s online marketplace allows investors and lenders to participate in residential solar system financing, and also has proprietary solar siting and design software.

Ecotality: Also based in San Francisco, an EV charging technology developer and maker of the ‘Blink Network’ of residential and commercial EV charge stations for safe, efficient charging at low utility rates.

Emefcy: Israeli creator of electrogenic bio-reactor (EBR) technology that changes the economics of wastewater treatment by generating energy (rather than consuming it) using electrogenic bacteria, while also treating the wastewater.

Lanzatech: Our local hero – the New Zealand-based creator of proprietary microbe technology converts waste gases to fuels and chemicals, from any source of carbon monoxide with no impact on the food value chain.

Maxwell Technologies: San Diego-based developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitors – energy storage technology used to optimise energy efficiency, performance, reliability and life cycle of various  systems like vehicles and the power grids.

Silver Spring Networks: California-based (but with offices in Melbourne, Australia and Sao Paulo, Brasil) developer of utility networking technologies and software that provide cost-effective, secure and reliable connection of smart meters to power grids.

Smarter Grid Solutions: The Glaswegian company has developed grid management software to help utility grid operators maximise the use of existing assets.

Tendril Networks: The Colorado company’s “world class” smart energy platform – Tendril Energize – was selected by Origin Energy last year to roll out to thousands of the gentrader’s customer homes in the second half of the year. It enables smart home applications, such as customer engagement, energy monitoring and management, and demand response, by interacting with hardware devices in the home.

Va-Q-Tec: German manufacturer of vacuum-based insulation materials that potentially provide up to 10 times better insulation than conventional materials.

– Xtreme Power: Texas-based outfit whose advanced lead-based energy storage and power management system can be used with large-scale renewables or in the grid system, making them more responsive and flexible to cope better with unpredictable supply.

Solar power EV charger

The first solar-powered charging station for electric cars in Australia will be officially launched this week as part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial. The solar charging station, using 12 modules provided by Q.Cells and an inverter provided by Delta (both are German companies) will be available for public use and located at located at the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies in Brunswick East. “As a leading solar PV company, it is our aim to make solar energy a viable, renewable energy source of the future,” said Julia Pfeiffer from Q.CELLS Australia. “We want to support CERES in their great work to educate and teach the local community about the practical and easy to implement ways to lead a sustainable life.

Sun rises, wind blows

Geothermal energy developer Petratherm says preliminary assessments suggests there are excellent wind and solar resources which could be exploited for its proposed $1.5 billion clean energy precinct in the north of South Australia. The idea for the precinct, unveiled last December, is to develop up to 600MW of clean energy capacity to cater for large mining developments in the state. It would initially comprise wind and gas-fired energy, but would add solar and geothermal energy over time.

Petratherm CEO Terry Kallis says testing undertaken by renewable energy consultancy Garrad Hassan, shows wind speeds of up to 8 metres per second at 100m height, which has the potential to facilitate a 300MW wind farm. Preliminary assessments also indicate a world-class solar resource estimated at 20 megajoules per square metre daily.

The precinct is located around 50km north of Petratherm’s Paralana geothermal project. “It’s still early days for the Precinct but we remain firmly on track to combine new power generation facilities across gas, wind, solar and geothermal to eventually produce 600MW of reliable, competitively priced electricity to meet anticipated demand from large mining developments in SA,” he said in a satement. He said the company is in discussions with key investors from several large renewable and energy companies both locally and overseas for potential technology and joint venture partnerships.

Dyesol’s Seoul connection

Dyesol could soon be big in Korea, with its next generation Dye Solar Cell (DSC) windows being showcased at the Seoul City Government’s Human Resource Development Centre. The company says the South Korean installation will demonstrate how DSC applications can turn buildings into clean power plants, while maintaining the “cutting edge” in architectural style. The DSC windows (which you can see for yourselves here), were manufactured by Eagon Industrial – a large Korean glass fabrication company specialising in window and door systems – using a glass treatment to create what Dyesol describes as “a beautiful and funky geometric pattern – a modern-day stained glass window generating clean, renewable electricity from sunlight.” The modules used in the window systems were produced and supplied by Dyesol Limited’s Korean JV partner, Timo Technology, using Dyesol DSC materials and technology. Dye Solar Cell technology is a biomimetic nanotechnology that emulates photosynthesis: Using a layer of titania, electrolyte and ruthenium dye sandwiched between glass, it generates electricity when light striking the dye activates electrons which are absorbed by the titania to become an electric current.

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