fredag 31 augusti 2007

Landmark approval of Wallenius system

The PureBallast system, developed by Swedish companies Wallenius Waters and Alfa Laval has been approved by UN/IMO. PureBallast is a solution for treating ballast water of ships. The process is checmical-free and imitates nature's own way of treating water. This is the first time a chemical-free solution of this kind gets approval by the IMO. The solution can also be used in other applications, such as cleaning swimming pools.
German shipping company E. R Schiffahrt has already ordered the systems for four of their boats.

Ballast water is a huge environmental problem, with microorganisms and other organisms invading coastal areas where they are non-indigenous.

torsdag 30 augusti 2007

Morphic får banbrytande order

Morphic får en relativt stor order på sina bränsleceller.

Bolaget går faktiskt med förlust, och om de inte har väldigt höga vinstmarginaler är denna order inget som kommer att ändra på det. Ändå stiger aktiekuresen.
Är förväntingarna rimliga? Det krävs troligen fler order på vindparker eller pa Morphics hybridsystem för att företagets värdeökning skall kunna betraktas som substantiell.

torsdag 23 augusti 2007

Charging the cell phone with the palm of your hand

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute are developing battery chargers that make use of low temparature sources, such as body heat. Scientists behind the project hope that their findings may find applications such charging cell phones. According to project manager Peter Spies, electircity can be generated at any place where a temperature difference occurs.
Read more here.

onsdag 22 augusti 2007

The Cleantech Investment List Is Growing

Michael Wood, the US ambassador in Sweden, has put cleantech investments on the top of the agenda. Recently, he added a few companies on his list of interesting Swedish cleantech companies:
  • Ageratec
  • Catator AB
  • EcoHeater AB
  • HB Transfer Stockholm
  • Kockums AB
  • Midsummer AB
  • Nilar International AB
  • Svensk Rökgasenergi AB
  • Swedish Biogas International AB
Readers of this blog will remember that I have written about some of these companies earlier. And having followed Ageratec for some time, I am glad to see they get attention.

There are however more companies that potentially could be included. How about:
  • Malmberg Water, water treatment and biogas upgrading
  • Envac, automatic waste management systems
  • Hotab, biomass combustion plants
  • Ecoera, advanced agro-pellets technology
  • Scandroots, biological waste treatment
  • myFC, small fuel cells

tisdag 21 augusti 2007

Ethanol worse than oil?

Grist, quoting a recent study in Science, reports that the production and use of ethanol may make a larger contribution to global warming than the same amount of oil would have. These results are reached by considering the forests and grasslands being razed for biofuel crops plantations.
This is no surprise for ethanol skeptics. But it does underline the importance of detailed assessments, from source to end use, when comparing the environmental and climate impact of different type of fuels.

What will be the primary source of energy for our vehicles in 20 years? Electricity? Hydrogren? DME? One can only make a qualified guess. It is clear however that it is something that will depend upon political decisions as much as market logics.

And ethanol makes food prices soar as well.

fredag 17 augusti 2007

Morphic soon to ship pilot plants

Swedish energy technology company Morphic will soon start to market pilot plants of their hybrid wind power-hydrogen energy systems. Surplus wind power is used to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen can be used in fuel cells when the power demand increases (or for other fuel cell applications). Thus, the system is suitable for places where the conditions don't allow continuous power generation. Further on, the plant is compact enough to be transported on a truck or a jeep - making it useful in remote locations.

The capacity of the plant is not known.

fredag 10 augusti 2007

Swedish aviation fuel cleanest in the world

The fuel AVGAS 91/96 UL from Swedish oil company Hjelmco Oil has been selected as the cleanest aviation fuel in the world, by Federal Office of Civil Aviation, Switzerland. "Clean", as in "low emissions", that is. There are other contenders, mostly based on natural gas. If similar technologies could be applied on coal, the economy could get even better.

Another question regarding the sustainability of aviation, is how to make use of renewable energy. Ethanol as an aviation fuel shows some promise. And where natural gas can be used, so can upgraded biogas. (A matter of time in Sweden?)
Hydrogen is not a sustainable alternative however, considering the current state of production technology. Far too much power is needed to produce sufficient quantities of fuel for long range flying.

Update 05/09:
Please check the comments regarding key difference between the fuels discussed in this post

Small player tactics in the solar technology game

While Norwegian REC may be the most well-known example of Scandinavian solar energy technology, there are some very fine examples from Sweden as well.

However, for solar cell production, economy of scale is often a very important factor. Large investments are necessary for the construction of production facilities, and that creates an entry barrier for smaller players in the field. So how could smaller players tackle this? Well, economy of scale is not a phenomenon that is unique for the solar power tech sector, and lessons can be learnt from other sectors. One way for smaller companies to remain in the competition might be to find a niche market, and being unique or extraordinarily good at something very specific. For solar power, the variables commonly available to make your product stand out are efficiency and price. With cells being more efficient every year, and companies can stand out if they can offer commercial products with efficiency close to the levels reached in laboratories.
Another way to move ahead may be to apply unorthodox production methods to lower the price even in small and medium scale production. By simplifying the process, or applying techniques from other types of industrial production, cheaper cells can be produced, at the cost of lower efficiency.
Swedish company Midsummer are doing just that, hoping to get a share of the flourishing solar market.

Is this the way forward for smaller solar technology firms? Or would they, as in the case of Solibro, be better off trying to excell in quality, performance or efficiency, and associating themselves with a company of large production capacity?