Category Archives: Renewable Energy// Energies Renouvelables

In Oman bacteria-induced biofuel is getting patented


Muscat,Oman Sultanate: Mohab bin Ali Al-Hinai, assistant professor in the biology department of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), has obtained a patent for his research on bacteria that contributes to the production of biofuels.

Al-Hinai said the idea of producing biofuels by bacteria was a development of ‘acetobutylicum clostridium’ bacteria which is the fastest in its group in the production of organic materials usable as biofuels, according to Oman News Agency.

He added that the significance of the said bacteria is that it produces biofuels from plants that contain fiber and not from components of staple foods for human consumption such as maize, wheat, and sugarcane.

He affirmed that the most significant challenges are to find a way to make this invention economically feasible. He added that he is currently working on the development of research on biofuels from agricultural waste and the smallest organisms found in the Omani environment.

  • Why Bacteria-based biofuels?

By tweaking the smallest units of life, scientists are making bigger gains in producing alternative and renewable energy, with recent efforts aimed at molecule-level controls and promoting fractal growth patterns to create different fuels and improve efficiencies.

Bacteria, which range from 0.5 to 5 microns in size, perform functions that can be exploited, enhanced and modified to produce fuels. As they move, breathe, eat and reproduce, bacteria produce byproducts like ethanol and hydrogen while feeding on simple sugars, starches and sunlight. The cells themselves can also be harvested for biodiesel precursors.

The organisms may be used to produce fuels directly from biomass, including cellulosic biomass.  When all of the steps of digestion and fermentation are combined, it is called consolidated bioprocessing.  The organisms available for consolidated bioprocessing to produce cellulosic ethanol do not produce high concentrations of the ethanol, and therefore it isn’t cost effective to use them according to Biofuels Digest.

Even, back now in 2012, researchers genetically modified E. coli bacteria to convert sugar into an oil that is almost identical to conventional diesel.

While petrol and diesel release carbon dioxide that has been stored deep within the Earth, biofuels are said to be carbon neutral because they release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as the plants they are made from absorbed.

However, the energy it takes to grow and process the crops needed for biofuels also should be taken into account, as this adds to their “carbon footprint”.

A report by Chatham House said biofuels were expensive and worse for the climate than fossil fuels.

  • Sources: Oman News Agency, Biofuels Digest, CHatman House, Pnas.org

Un immense succès pour les Start-ups en France: la première «route solaire» inaugurée en Normandie par la ministre de l’Environnement, Ségolène Royal.(en/fr)


C’est une première mondiale inaugurée jeudi 22 décembre, en France, par la ministre de l’Environnement, Ségolène Royal. Selon Reuters, la première route solaire du monde s’est ouverte jeudi en Normandie, faisant partie d’une expérience subventionnée par le gouvernement français afin de constater si la transformation des autoroutes en France en centrales électriques ça pourrait être une façon de produire toute l’énergie qu’on a besoin durablement. 

Il s’agit de panneaux solaires sur le sol capables de supporter le poids du trafic routier. Ce revêtement capable de produire de l’electricité est une innovation française.

Ces dalles aux allures de carrelage plastifié devraient permettre de produire l’équivalent de l’éclairage public d’une ville de 5000 habitants, selon la direction de Wattway, le projet co-inventé par Colas -une filiale de Bouygues- et le CEA Tech. Elles sont fabriquées par la Scop SNA à Tourouvre. Selon le conseil départemental, l’ensemble des travaux est couvert par une subvention d’Etat de 5 millions d’euros hors taxe.

English: The world’s first solar road is here, in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. The 1 kilometer road was opened yesterday by French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal and could generate enough electricity to power the street lights.

However, there are numerous inconvenients. For instance, flat solar panels are less effective than the angled panels that are installed on roofs, and they’re also massively more expensive than traditional panels. Colas, the company that installed the road, hopes to reduce the cost of the panels going forward and it has around 100 solar panel road projects in progress around the world.

Ces 2.800 m2 de dalles pourraient permettre de recharger des voitures électriques comme à la Roche-sur-Yon, depuis juin, alimenter les aires d’autoroutes ou encore les maisons isolées. Ce projet permet de produire l’équivalent de l’éclairage public d’une ville de 5.000 habitants, selon la direction de Wattway, le projet co-inventé par Colas et le CEA Tech. La route solaire ornaise est une “première mondiale”, explique Jean-Charles Broizat,directeur de Wattway, ce que confirment les concurrents. Au nord d’Amsterdam, une piste cyclable solaire de 70 m est en service depuis deux ans, sur une voie où passent quelques 2.000 vélos par jour. Si le revêtement a mal résisté au premier hiver, le problème a été résolu depuis: la piste “SolaRoad” vient d’être prolongée de 20 mètres, assure TNO, société à l’origine du projet. Désormais, les quelques 2000 automobilistes qui empruntent chaque jour la RD5 pour sortir du village rouleront sur des panneaux solaires collés sur la chaussée pendant un kilomètre.

Selon Rfi.fr, cette prouesse technologique a un coût qui reste bien supérieur à celui des panneaux solaires classiques : 5 millions d’euros de travaux subventionnés par l’Etat et pour  l’heure, la route solaire est donc loin d’être rentable. En plus, un autre inconvenient est que les panneaux à plat produisent moins d’électricité que les panneaux inclinés. Pour “300 kWh installés”, les dalles Wattway produisent “5 à 10 kW de moins” que les toitures, selon Wattaway. Les sceptiques attendent aussi de voir si les panneaux résisteront effectivement, avec le temps, en dehors des laboratoires, au passage des poids-lourds et aux intempéries.

*Sources: Reuters, Francetvinfo.fr, Rfi.fr

Crédit Photo: @Twitter

#startup: Des Sea Bubbles, une voiture taxi qui va voler au-dessus de la Seine à Paris en 2017 (En/Fr)


  • Venice may have the gondola, but Paris will soon have its own water-based transport fit for the future.

Sea Bubbles are futuristic pods that float on stilts 2ft above the water and can travel up to 30km/h. There are the creation of French yachtsman Alain Thébault and Swedish windsurfer Anders Bringdal and are due to be tried out in the French capital next spring at the request of the environmentally conscious city hall.

Sea Bubbles may help reduce Paris’s road traffic problem. There are a sort of “funny” electic boats held to a standard of “zero emissions, zero waves and zero noise” which rise above the water ensured and performed by the four thin wing structure which remains in contact with the water while moving. Thanks to Thébault’s Hydroptère technology, when the service transports passengers across the water, the vehicle won’t float on the surface like a boat. 

 

The brainchild of French yachtsman Alain Thébault and Swedish windsurfer Anders Bringdal, the first five prototypes of the Sea Bubbles will arrive on the Seine in 2017, pitched as an environmentally-friendly alternative for commuters.

If the vessels are granted licences to ply their trade on the Seine, the plan is to build specially designed docking stations where passengers can hop on or off and which would also serve as charging stations.

Sea Bubble’s intention, after Paris launch is to spread this mode of transport to cities around the world as New York, Hong-Kong, London or Miami.

 

Sources, The Telegraph, Huff Post (en/fr), BfmTv.fr, the Mirror, Sea Bubbles site

Credit Photo: @SeaBubbles-Alain Thébault

 

 

Turkey allows cannabis production under state’s control in 19 provinces for medicinal and scientific purposes.


  • Maybe we’ll see cannabis used as a biofuel afterwards for Turkey’s energy needs?

Turkey has legalized the production of cannabis in 19 provinces in an attempt to undercut illegal cannabis growing operations, outside the previously designated fields, under several conditions according to turkish Daily Sabah. Published in the Official Gazette in late September, “Hemp Cultivation and Control of Regulations” will allow highly-controlled and ministry-sanctioned cannabis production in the selected provinces for medical and scientific purposes.

In line with the decree, ministry-sanctioned cannabis production will be possible in the provinces of Amasya, Antalya, Bartın, Burdur, Çorum, İzmir, Karabük, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kütahya, Malatya, Ordu, Rize, Samsun, Sinop, Tokat, Uşak, Yozgat and Zonguldak. 

Under the regulations, growers must obtain permission from the government allowing them to grow the plant for a three-year-period, Turkish newspaper The Hurriyet reports. Continue reading Turkey allows cannabis production under state’s control in 19 provinces for medicinal and scientific purposes.