Energy Production

Climate & Environment
Research: Chilli makes solar cells more effective
Research: Chilli makes solar cells more effective
Credit: unsplash.com / Possessed Photography

The plant substance capsaicin makes chilies hot and it makes solar cells more effective, as scientists from Sweden and China have now discovered: capsaicin is said to minimize power loss and make solar cells more resistant to water. They have processed capsaicin in a perovskite solar cell.

This type of solar cell is seen as the hope for a new generation of photovoltaic systems. They are easy to manufacture with inexpensive materials. Adding the chili ingredient increased the solar cell's efficiency from 19.1 to nearly 22 percent.

Climate & Environment
Germany: Hamburg introduces solar obligation for new buildings
Representative image of solar panels
Representative image of solar panels Credit: unsplash.com / MICHAEL WILSON

New electricity from Hamburg's roofs: Hamburg will be the first German state to introduce mandatory photovoltaics from 2023. Starting in two years, corresponding systems must be installed on new buildings or roofs that are being fundamentally renovated. The generated solar power is expected to save over 60,000 tons of CO2 by 2030.

Regional News • Europe
European power grid experienced a disruption on Friday
European power grid experienced a disruption on Friday
Credit: unsplash.com / Matthew Henry

Outage in Romania led to underfrequency in Europe. According to Austrian Power Grid, normal operation was restored after one hour.

According to Austrian Power Grid (APG), a disturbance occurred in the synchronized European high-voltage power grid Friday afternoon, which led to an under frequency in Europe with a short-term frequency deviation of about 260 mHz. The detailed analysis is still in progress.

Thanks to the protection mechanisms established throughout Europe and the immediate and coordinated cooperation of the transmission system operators, normal operation for the whole of Europe was restored within an hour. APG controls the supra-regional power transmission grid in Austria.

Climate & Environment
Germany: Green electricity will cover almost half of electricity consumption in 2020
Germany: Green electricity will cover almost half of electricity consumption in 2020
Credit: unsplash.com / RawFilm

According to experts, renewable energies such as wind and solar power covered almost half of Germany's electricity consumption this year.

This means that the share of green electricity has continued to rise, compared to 42.5 percent in 2019. According to preliminary calculations by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) the share of electricity from wind, photovoltaics, biomass and other renewable energy sources made up around 46 percent of gross electricity consumption.

One of the reasons for this shift, however, is the lower electricity consumption, in particular as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Science • Physics & Engineering
Ballast stones store energy in the port of Hamburg
Ballast stones store energy in the port of Hamburg
Credit: Courtesy of Siemens

In the Port of Hamburg, ballast stones with electrothermal energy storage systems can store renewable energy from wind or sun in the form of heat. The project, in which Siemens Gamesa and the Technical University of Hamburg, among others, have been involved since June 2019, is called ETES. ETES stands for Electro-Thermal Energy Storage and could be used in the future to become independent of weather conditions. This would make it possible to draw on the energy generated even when the sky is overcast or there is no wind.

Climate & Environment
South Korea commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
South Korea commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
Credit: unsplash.com / Shawn Ang

Following a visit by Cop26 president-designate Alok Sharma, president Moon Jae-in has announced that South Korea will commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. “By replacing coal power generation with renewable energy, we will create new markets and industries and create jobs,” he said.

Earlier this year, Moon presented plans for a Green New Deal investing $37 billion in clean energy, green infrastructure and electric vehicles by 2025. A further $7 billion investment in carbon-cutting measures was announced last week.

Climate & Environment
Report: Solar energy now cheapest form of electricity
Report: Solar energy now cheapest form of electricity
Credit: unsplash.com / Science in HD

International Energy Agency has reported that solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build.

In their report, they claim that risk-reducing financial policies around the world have benefited this development and underlines the importance of these for the future development of renewable energy sources.

Regional News • Africa
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Credit: Hailefida (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Under the leadership of the African Union the three in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) involved countries Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have announced that they'll continue negotiations over the management of the dam.

The water and foreign ministers of the countries have agreed "to work on unifying the texts of the agreements submitted by the three countries" according to the water ministry of Sudan.

Regional News • Africa
Ethiopia has started filling the Renaissance Dam after talks end with no deal
Men at work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project.
Men at work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. Credit: Jacey Fortin (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Dr. Seleshi Bekele has announced that the country has started filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He later stated on his Twitter account that "The inflow into the reservoir due to heavy rain fall and runoff exceeded the outflow and created natural pooling.This continues until overflow is triggered soon".

Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had ended with no agreement as Ethiopia aims to become a large energy supplier for its' population and generate revenue by exporting the surplus, while Egypt fears that the Nile will provide too little water for the country.

Regional News • Americas • United States
District Court shuts down Dakota Access oil pipeline
District Court shuts down Dakota Access oil pipeline
Credit: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered that the Dakota Access oil pipeline must be shut down and emptied of oil within 30 days by August 5.

The court stated that the National Environmental Policy Act requirements have not been met with the existing federal permit for the pipeline.

Mike Faith, a tribal chairman for the American Indian tribes that fought against the pipeline for the past years has stated that "Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline" adding that "This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning".