Archive for November 25, 2013

wind powers rail

Will the Future of Rail Run on Wind Energy?

Britain’s electrified railways could be up to 70% powered by wind turbines placed alongside the tracks, if a trial getting underway is successful.

A new project, part-funded by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, aims at reducing the carbon footprint of electrified railways using a specially designed wind turbine developed by British manufacturer X-Wind Power.

The product is billed as the world’s most advanced vertical axis wind turbine. Called the XW-80, it has been designed for extreme reliability and exceptional performance on sites with restricted access and limited space.

The XW-80 can be installed at a density of 1MW per kilometre on long linear sites such as sea defences, road and rail corridors, or in small numbers to suit communities or businesses.

The technology, with its exceptional efficiency, low cost of energy, and near-silent operation, has been described as “potentially game changing” by major wind player Dong Energy.

Vertical axis wind turbines are not bothered by turbulent changes in direction of the wind, or blustery weather. They are therefore more suited to urban situations. Most wind turbines using windfarms have a horizontal axis.

In May, DECC awarded a total of £16 million in the first phase of its £35 million Energy Entrepreneurs Fund (EEF), part of which went to X-Wind Power. The programme has been set up to develop low carbon technologies for buildings and power generation and energy storage.

X-Wind’s EFP project will now take advantage of Network Rail’s unique land ownership to validate its vertical axis wind turbine technology in terms of performance, economics and safety, specifically when operating in narrow corridors and in proximity to trains.

The two-year trial consists of the design and development of an 80kW wind turbine based on X-Wind recently validated 6kW small scale generator (pictured above).

It will lead to several regional tests along Network Rail’s tracks before moving to a comprehensive rollout and the potential generation of 2,200 GWh of carbon-free electricity annually.

Michael Blaize, CEO at X-Wind Power, said: “We have made exceptional progress over the last two years, from an innovative concept to a demonstration project with the UK’s largest energy user.

“The support we have received from funding bodies such as the Technology Strategy Board and The Department of Energy and Climate Change is a clear endorsement of our technology and business strategies.”

The company believes that a distributed energy system coupled with storage technology is the only long-term energy solution for the future and that its technology could play a leading role in the supply of energy solutions globally.

Its market research has highlighted strong growth potential for the medium scale wind market. X-Wind intends to combine innovative design with robust manufacturing processes from automotive and large-scale wind industries to offer efficient and reliable products.

If you would like any further information about wind turbines or other forms of energy generation go to

bike rush hour

25% Of London Rush Hour Vehicles Are Bikes

Cyclists account for more than 24% of the vehicles on the roads of London during the morning rush hour, according to the new data from Transport for London.

That’s quite an impressive percentage…. Seems that there’s no longer any denying how mainstream bicycling has become — time for some infrastructure improvements and bicycling budget increases in my opinion.

The new figures are the result of a mass census of bicyclists in London – the largest of its kind to date. The Guardian has specifics:

At Theobalds Road near Holborn, bikes were 64% of all vehicles heading west, while Elephant and Castle, one of London’s most notoriously frightening roundabouts for cyclists saw 903 cyclists per hour head north to the city centre between 7am and 9am.

Unsurprisingly, the bridges score well (they are the only way for cyclists to cross the river). London Bridge, for example, averaged 660 bikes an hour over the whole day (6am to 8pm), or 47% of vehicles. In Amsterdam, meanwhile, 60% of inner city traffic is bikes.

London’s new cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, had this to say when asked about the new figures: “Cycling is clearly a mass mode of transport in central London and until now it hasn’t been treated as such. Nearly all provision for cycling is based on the presumption that hardly anyone cycles, that you can make do with shoving cyclists to the side of the road and that just clearly is wrong.”

If you would like any further information about wind turbines or other forms of energy generation go to

Chinese elderly couple travel the world on electric bike

Retired Couple to Travel Around the Wold on Solar Powered Electric Tricycle

Building an electric tricycle from scratch is one thing – but driving it through 100 countries around the world in 5 years is another thing entirely. Li Linxiang, 66, and his wife Zhao Yafan, 64, are a retired couple from Shenyang, China – and they plan to circle the globe in a homemade solar-powered trike. They left from Shenyang on May 25th and they plan to travel through China, Kazakhstan, and the Middle East before spending the winter in Ethiopia. From there the couple will continue their journey in the spring by entering Europe via Turkey.

If you would like any further information about wind turbines or other forms of energy generation go to

15-Year-Old Develops Flashlight Powered by Body Heat

15-Year-Old Develops Flashlight Powered by Body Heat

From a sleeping bag that charges your gadgets to entire buildings heated by body heat, scientists are harvesting the heat emitted by humans as a source of renewable energy. But the latest development in thermoelectric energy generation doesn’t come from a high-tech lab at MIT; it comes from Ann Makosinski, a 15-year-old Canadian girl who developed a flashlight that is powered by the heat from a human hand. With the aim of reducing the number of single-use batteries that are thrown in landfills, Makosinski developed the innovative flashlight, which can be developed cheaply and deployed to populations that can’t afford electricity to light their homes.

To create the thermoelectric flashlight, Makosinski used Peltier tiles, which produce electricity when heated on one side and cooled on the other. Makosinski fashioned the flashlight out of an aluminum tube housed in a PVC tube with an opening to allow a person’s hand to come into contact with the Peltier tiles. “My design is ergonomic, thermodynamically efficient, and only needs a five degree temperature difference to work and produce up to 5.4 mW at 5 foot candles of brightness,” explains Makosinski.

The Peltier tiles transfer heat from a human hand to power an LED bulb that is bright enough to use in a flashlight. The Peltier tiles rely on temperature differential to work, so the light burns brighter when it’s colder outside.

Makosinski sees the flashlight as more than just a novelty; the technology she’s working with could help prevent the unnecessary use of batteries, which leak toxic chemicals into the ground. And it could ultimately provide a cheap, renewable light source to those that lack access to electricity. “I’m really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use,”Makosinski told CBC.

Makosinski’s flashlight was recently selected as one of just 15 finalists for the Google Science Fair, earning her a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. The grand prize winner will get a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

If you would like any further information about wind turbines or other forms of energy generation go to

can you use a heat pump in a poorly insulated house?

Can you heat a solid stone, poorly insulated house with an ashp and save money?

Some important voices in the industry say you can’t heat a poorly insulated property with an air source heat pump efficiently.  Are they correct?

At Husky we say no! Of course it’s always best to insulate where possible. But what if it’s not practical to do so? Does that mean we must rule out an ASHP?

If an air source heat pump saves money on a well insulated property, are we supposed to believe it does not on a house with poor insulation?

Plenty of questions and one answer………….

An air source heat pump WILL save money against LPG, OIL and even gas on a poorly insulated property! Fact!

As both manufacturers and installers, Husky engineers are installing heat pumps on poorly insulated properties, which can’t be insulated anymore, on a weekly basis. How do we do it?

It’s actually simple if the engineer follows the rule:


The heat pump will remain the same in efficiency (cop) as in well insulated homes, the running costs are simply more. If you save 50% on a well insulated property, you will save 50% on a poorly insulated property.

There are finer details to take into account; however we achieve success here time and time again. It’s just knowing how!

Regardless of the fuel you should insulate fully to reduce running costs. Also to be eligible for the RHI payments you must have at least 250 mm loft insulation and your cavity walls must be insulated were applicable.

At Husky we are heating stone buildings with as low as 36 degrees flow in the central heating system. For more information contact us direct.

So, when you ask the question of whether or not a stone home’s can be heated using low temperatures in the central heating system, provided by ASHP’s  you now know the answer is yes. Thanks for reading.

7 ways to reduce your electricity bill

7 Ways To Reduce Your Electricity Bill


Smart meters

Smart Thermostat Market Will Grow 10-Fold by 2020


The global smart thermostat market could be worth nearly $1.4 billion by 2020, up from about $100 million today, according to a new market study from Navigant Research.

Although that is a considerable climb in seven years, the report takes a conservative approach to some market barriers, particularly utility involvement in the U.S. residential market. If companies produce compelling offerings in the open market, which is already happening from retail stores to telecom bundles, the figures could potentially be higher.

“Unlike products and solutions that are directly integrated by government-sponsored utility smart grid programs, smart thermostats have remained largely in the commercial sphere where uptake relies on individual energy efficiency awareness and cost savings as purchasing incentives,” wrote the report authors. “As such, the market for smart thermostats has struggled to gain traction.”

It is true that smart thermostats are still a niche offering and utilities are just getting in the space. But other trends would suggest the market is gaining traction. According to GTM Research, there are now a handful of home energy management system companies in the U.S. that have procured more than one million customers — many using smart thermostats as a part of the offering to connect with customers. These companies are providing services that utilities have been incapable of providing.

Nest Labs is reportedly shipping 40,000 smart thermostats per month — with its highest installation rates coming on Christmas of last year. says hundreds of thousands more customers have smart thermostats as part of its connected home offering. Europe also has non-utility offerings, likeTado, that are looking to shake up the market.

Arguably, it is the lack of utility involvement that makes the potential for smart thermostat growth impressive. At the same time, the convergence of mobile phones and thermostats is making these products much more attractive for customers.

Anecdotal evidence would also suggest the market is indeed gaining traction. When you overhearpeople on vacation comparing their thermostat iPhone apps, or you listen to someone gush about their Nest thermostat at a cocktail party, it implies something is different in the thermostat market. People are not buying these products just to save money or because they are laser-focused on energy efficiency. People buy these products because of the convienence of controlling their heating and cooling remotely from a smartphone. For most people, any savings on the monthly utility bills are a bonus.

As for utilities, many of them are not that interested in managing devices in homes. But they love the idea of leveraging the products once they’re out there, and they’re increasingly relying on outside providers that are now gaining traction in the home.

GTM Research sees single devices in the home, and especially the smart thermostat, as a relatively low-barrier entry item for vendor selling to utilities. Many utilities, including San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Austin Energy, have revamped their residential demand response offerings to either leverage thermostats in their territory or to offer some of the more popular models for enrollment.

There are a lot of emerging factors driving the smart thermostat space — almost all of them coming outside of utilities.

C&F Wind Turbines from C&F Green Energy and Clean Power Solutions, could provide power for latest automated driver-less pods

Self-Driving Pods On Their Way To UK

The talk of driverless, fully automated cars is exciting news for the future, though the future might be closer than we think. Milton Keynes, a small city north of London, will be installing a fleet of 100 automated “pod cars” that will run between downtown, the train station, and various offices in-between. Some of the power for this system could come from C&F wind turbines from C&F Green Energy and Clean Power Solutions.  This raises the question; will public transit beat automakers to the rollout of self-driving cars?

The plan calls for 100 pods, each capable of holding two people and luggage, to roll around in special lanes built all around Milton Keynes. The city was chosen for its already-wide roads, and the £65million/$104 million project will get started in 2015 and is expected to be fully completed around 2017. Pedestrians can call one of the pods to their location via a smartphone app, as well as pay the £2 fee, and a similar (albeit smaller) system has been in use at London’s Heathrow airport since 2011.

These pods could point the way forward for public transit, offering a modicum of privacy and some of the versatility of your own vehicle, while freeing up the roads from loud, slow, and polluting buses. Eventually the government may even remove the segregated lanes, allowing the pods (which move along at just 12 mph) to ferry people with even more versatility.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all hop aboard a pod on our way to work.


Renewables will exceed gas & nuclear by 2016. C&F wind turbines from C&F Green Energy will be part of the result.

IEA: Renewables Will Exceed Natural Gas And Nuclear By 2016 and C&F wind turbines from C&F Green Energy will be part of the result.
Natural gas is widely considered the bridge to take us from fossil fuel dependence to a clean energy future – but that bridge may be a lot shorter than anyone could have predicted.

Global renewable electricity production by region image via IEA
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts power generation from renewable sources will exceed natural gas and be twice the contribution from nuclear energy globally by 2016 – just three short years from now.
IEA’s second-annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR) forecasts renewable generation will grow 40% in the next five years despite difficult economic conditions.
Renewable energy is now the fastest-growing sector of the global power market, and will represent 25% of all energy generation worldwide by 2018, up from 20% in 2011. In addition, renewable electricity generation is expected to reach 6,850 terawatt-hours (TWh) and total installed renewable capacity should hit 2,350 gigawatts (GW), both by 2018.
Wind and solar photovoltaic generation is powering this jump, and non-hydro renewable power will double from 4% of gross generation in 2011 to 8% in 2018. IEA cites two main drivers for their incredible outlook: accelerating investment and deployment, and growing cost competitiveness versus fossil fuels.
Even though government funding has been inconsistent, private investment has remained strong, especially in developing economies. Rural electrification, energy poverty, and rising demand have been major challenges for policymakers in these countries, and renewables have become an increasingly attractive option for diverse and non-polluting power.

Countries with non-hydro renewable capacity above 100MW image via IEA
Non-developed countries, led by China, are expected to contribute two-thirds of all renewable market growth between now and 2018, compensating for slower growth and market volatility acorss Europe and the US.
Indeed, non-hydro renewable power will make up 11% of gross generation in these countries by 2018, up from 7% in 2012. By itself, China will account for 310GW, or 40% of all global renewable power capacity increases over this time period.
Falling Costs, Rising Capacity
Solving energy poverty issues without harmful emissions is key to renewables growth, but the larger reason for IEA’s outlook is more likely falling costs. The report finds renewables now cost-competitive with fossil fuels across many countries and a wide set of circumstances.

Solar PV annual capacity additions by region image via IEA
IEA notes wind is competitive with new fossil fuel in multiple markets, including Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and New Zealand, and solar is competitive both in markets with high peak prices and decentralized power needs. “As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” said Maria van der Hoeven of IEA.
However, the IEA warns renewables still face a challenging future. Global investment fell in 2012, and policy uncertainties loom over clean energy technology in several important markets. In addition, grid integration challenges have materialized in some regions as renewables penetration has hit new levels.
“Policy uncertainty is public enemy number one,” said Van der Hoeven. “Many renewables no longer require high economic incentives, but they do still need long-term policies that provide a predictable and reliable market and regulatory framework.”

C&F Wind Turbines from C&F Green Energy, could do the same in Britain

Germany Hits 59 Percent Renewable Peak, Grid Does Not Explode

Wind and solar power peaked at 59.1 percent of German power generation earlier this month. It happened at noon on a very windy and sunny October 3 — the German holiday commemorating reunification. (Germany hit 61 percent, a record, and 59 percent peaks earlier this year.)

Solar and wind provided 36.4 percent of total electricity generation over the entire day with PV accounting for 11.2 percent.

The electrical grid appears intact but electricity prices took a tumble. According to an analysis by Bernard Chabot of BCCONSULT, low demand from large conventional power plants drove the electricity price index covering Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland to 2.75 cents per kilowatt hour at 2:00 pm.

Some more stats from Chabot’s report

– Solar and wind furnished a total of more than 436 gigawatt-hours.

– At peak, solar furnished 20.5 gigawatts with wind peaking at 16.6 gigawatts.

– Conventional power plants had to ramp down to 23 gigawatts at about noon.

We recently reported on an NREL study specific to one U.S. regional grid (the Western Interconnection), that found the costs of backing-up and integrating wind and solar are far less than the benefits of the renewables. We’ve reported on the utility model under threat by renewables. And we’ve heard from grid experts who see the European grid as strained and soon-to-be challenged by the onslaught of renewables.