By Hugh Finlay
India is aiming to increase its production of solar electricity by another 175 gigawatts by 2022, said the Indian Energy Minister R.K.Singh. He added “The country would achieve its target of 175 gigawatts of installed energy capacity well before 2020.” Over $125 billion will be necessary to fund this project. This shows India’s determination to make solar power central to its energy policy. At the moment India gets 18% of its power from solar. By 2030 40% of the country’s power will come from solar.
India which gets plenty of sunshine, has 60 gigawatts of installed solar energy in place, so far.
Stuart Wenham who died recently, has been honored by New South Wales University in Australia, for his achievements in increasing the efficiency of solar panels a hundred times. He was the head of the Center for Excellence for Advanced Photovoltaics and Photonics at New South Wales University. He received Australia’s main science prize because of his creation of advanced hydrogenation technology, which greatly boosted the efficiency of solar photoelectric cells. Later he became the technology officer for Suntech Power, which is the biggest producer of solar panels in the world.
His colleague Dr. Matthew Edwards said “(Stuart Wenham) took students to Nepal and Nicaragua to set up solar for communities in need of clean water and power, wrote fundamental solar textbooks, started the first and still only specialized photovoltaic degree in the world. He won pretty much every award under the sun except the Nobel, which I wouldn’t have been surprised to see heading his way if he were still here. He was the Einstein of the solar world and it’s hard to put into words his contribution to the planet.”
Another colleague described him thus “Stuart Wenham will be remembered for his selfless and continuous efforts to make the world a better place to live.”
And one of his students, Shi Zhengrong, described him as “a great global solar leader who made solar affordable and accessible to everyone.”
For the first time electrically powered barges will cruise the waterways. The Netherlands has decided to use these barges in ports like Amsterdam, Antwerp and Rotterdam in 2018. The electric barges in the busy inner waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium will greatly reduce the usage of diesel trucks, that are normally used for transporting freight. Because of the introduction of the barges, over 23,000 trucks will no longer be used on the roads.
These “Teslas of the canals” will be powered by batteries 7 meters (20 ft.) long. The batteries are taken on shore where they are charged by the electric energy provider Eneco. The battery provides enough energy for 15 hours of work. Because there is no engine room needed on these barges, an extra 8% of storage space is available.
The barges which are over 50 meters long and almost 7 meters wide will be able to transport 425 tons, and will work automatically, without any crew. The first 5 barges will operate from August 2018.
There are plans for building 6 larger such barges. These would be 110 meters long and would have enough battery power for 35 hours of work. They would be able to transport about 4,500 tons of freight. The barges could have transported even more cargo, if the bridges on the canals were not so low. The use of the barges will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 18,000 tons a year.
At the moment less than 10% of freight in Europe is transported by barge. But this could change rapidly. The company producing the barges, Port Liner, said that it can produce 500 barges per year, and also fit electric batteries and motors to boats that are not at present electrically powered.