SA already has requisite skills base to adopt IGCC technology

South Africa is, in key respects, an ideal country to deploy the latest generation Integrated (coal) Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology for electricity generation. This is the view of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Africa. “This technology needs sufficiently trained people, so there needs to be a skills base before it can be adopted,” explains MHPS Africa Chief Technology Officer Dietmar Breuer. “In South Africa, because of the [South African coal-to-petrol petrochemical group] Sasol background, the technology and skills requirements are already covered. There is very good knowledge in the base technology. South Africa is, from our point of view, the ideal country in Africa for IGCC. The next in line would be the directly adjacent countries, which can easily access South African expertise.”
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Nanowires Have the Power to Revolutionize Solar Energy

Imagine a solar panel more efficient than today’s best solar panels, but using 10 000 times less material. This is what EPFL researchers expect given recent findings on these tiny filaments called nanowires. Solar technology integrating nanowires could capture large quantities of light and produce energy with incredible efficiency at a much lower cost. This technology is possibly the future for powering microchips and the basis for a new generation of solar panels. Read more

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Peak water worries energy experts

World Energy Supply GB Graphic Peak water worries energy expertsWhat are the key takeaways from the World Economic Forum’s latest report on energy?

One, global energy demand is showing no signs of slowing down, despite “peak driving” having arrived already in the US and Europe. Two, if we’re going to ease energy poverty for the large chunk of the world population that still goes without modern supplies, demand is likely to keep going much higher. Read more

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Is algae the answer to greener transport?

Energy – not even fossil-fuel energy – isn’t in short supply for the short-term future, globally speaking. Liquid fuel for transport, on the other hand, is a concern. And it’s hard to imagine a global economy functioning for long without transport.

Could algae ultimately provide the solution other biofuels (corn ethanol, especially) have failed to deliver? Read more

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Algae can draw energy from other plants

Flowers need water and light to grow. Even children learn that plants use sunlight to gather energy from earth and water. Members of Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse’s biological research team at Bielefeld University have made a groundbreaking discovery that one plant has another way of doing this. They have confirmed for the first time that a plant, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other plants. This finding could also have a major impact on the future of bioenergy.
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