Publication: Charging island homes

Do you think islands can benefit from the use of Electric Vehicles?

It’s quite reasonable to agree on the benefits.

Because of the limited distances, because of the availability of renewables, lack of local fuels and high energy dependence, and because of the environmental impact, electric mobility apparently fits there like a glove.

Besides, resiliency to face weather events by storing energy in the vehicle, and reducing peak electrical demand on normal conditions seem to be economically beneficial.

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Image taken in Crete by Repsaj on freeimages

The research we recently got published in Energy, focuses on the effect of using the vehicle’s energy to charge the home at peak load and charge the vehicle* during valley.

This is what we found out…

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The flight “dilemma”

As an international sales manager I have to travel within Europe and Africa regularly… This means a lot of air travel.

So, the dilemma I face is;

While I work to make SDG7 a reality by making grids smarter and greener, at the same time I have a huge carbon footprint by flights.

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I know many other people have this “flight dilemma”, do you?

This issue is also related to SDG13 (Urgent action to combat climate change).* How? Sigue leyendo

Offshore wind to float

In a recent article published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, the challenges for the future of off-shore wind were discussed, considering Spain as a case.

The need for floating structures is a clear cornerstone for the development of off-shore wind in countries like Spain, where swallow waters are not convenient or restricted.

The development of these technologies to a commercial level will bridge the difference from on-shore connected windpower and off-shore or off-grid generation. Energy harvesting as discussed in this post with multi-use offshore platforms can be envisioned as a next step.

Picture from Yarik Mishin on freeimages.com

Picture from Yarik Mishin on freeimages.com

Excluding the technological and environmental challenges, there are other hurdles.

As it is highlighted usually, the unstable regulatory framework causes a lack of interest for investment, specially if paired with complicated administrative procedures.

The sustainable Matrix

Disclaimer: This is a forward looking post where I’m not using scientific research. Instead it’s  hypothetical and can be found unrealistic. However, I find it worth to share to imagine a possible future.

For sure you have seen the Matrix, but probably long ago. Watching it again in 2016 made me think about the future of sustainable energy, artificial intelligence and Virtual reality.

What if the Matrix was not conceived to harvest human energy (which has no sense as an energy cycle) but to reduce the energy consumption of humanity and maximize the number of humans?

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Imagen from Xaver trokis in freeimages.com

I’m convinced that we will live in abundant energy in the near future, and possibly with the harnessing of fusion, this will be even more. The problem will not be energy but other more limited resources such as food and water, if more than 100 billion humans are to live in the planet.

Will it be necessary to create a matrix, where we live in virtual reality, but consume the minimum water and food per human? Would that be necessarily a choice for each individual to live in the virtual reality / simulation, instead of real live with restricted access to resources?

If the goal of the human species is to multiply and increase species resilience by becoming interplanetary, virtual reality life paired with lowest resource consumption can allow to live in the mind and multiply anywhere.

In fact, if Artificial Intelligence has the goal of maximizing the number of humans, that is the path we might take, don’t you think?

Regarding interplanetary travel, it might be the solution for several generations to travel while living in virtual reality, until another livable planet 1000 years apart is reached.

However, this theory could be completely wrong if there is an evolution towards cyborg humans where minds become artificial and undying…

NZEB + EV: The decarb combo

Are you aware of these stats?

  1. Buildings account for 40 % of energy consumption and 36 % of energy emissions (EU data)
  2. Road transport accounts for 25 % of energy consumption and 20 % of energy emissions (EU data and EU stats)

Then, what happens when we combine NZEB buildings (net Zero Energy Buildings) with local renewable generation and EVs (Electric Vehicles) charging in these NZEB?

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It’s obvious… -> We can decarbonize 65 % of the energy system!* Sigue leyendo

The battery gap

I explained to a friend this week my concept of “battery gap”.

He thinks batteries will not “be enough”, are “too far away” and “too expensive” for grid energy storage… Well, we’ve heard that old story before.

We heard that old belief that solar energy would never be competitive or only represent a small portion of energy generation, right? Or the one that grids had an inherent limit for absorbing renewable power (yes, some people once said it was 15%) Or that to reach a high degree of renewable penetration, the land use would not leave space to grow food… And such.

Well, the DOE has published an update on the accelerated escalation of LEDs, wind, solar, EVs and batteries. The graphs and the facts are impressive.

The difference in price for renewable energy Vs conventional grows quickly. So there is growing “space” to pay for energy storage. We could represent as follows: Sigue leyendo

Sailing 100% renewable

You might have read an old post on electric boats and sea energy harvesting before. I described then, electrifying boat transport as one of the ways to make islands 100% renewable.

Electric sailboats have a lot of sense, and are becoming more and more popular. It’s a fantastic sensation to sail, without the sound of a motor, and for many of us, turning the diesel engine on is to be avoided as much as possible. Moreover, even when the engine is only used for a little time, we strongly feel the pollution.

Precisely because for a sailboat the engine is not used that much, having electric propulsion and battery storage is very reasonable. It can be charged at the normal port outlet, regenerating while sailing, or with a small wind generator and solar panels. Compared to the need of refueling at a port gas-station, the convenience is increased greatly, and also the cost to the owner.

Maintenance of an electric motor is simpler because of less moving parts, the size of the motor is reduced, and the battery can be placed as ballast, incorporated in the hull. Sailboats already have batteries and often the motors have to run just to charge them. By increasing the size of the batteries and having renewable charging (solar/wind), this is automatically taken care of.

Besides, the performance is increased, having more torque at lower rpm, and electric motors are more efficient that the internal combustion counterparts.

Finally, regarding the noise, see this video comparing the diesel engines to electric. Together with the smoke/pollution, this is the most dramatic difference.

In summary, it will amaze me if in 5 or ten years all 95% of all new sailboats are electric. And I hope to sail on one of those soon.

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Sunset near Cala D’Or in Mallorca

If Energythaca were an island, sailing there would be on a sailboat. That was the image on my first post on the blog.

I guess it is an appropriate post arriving from vacations…