Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Driving the development of high performance heterojunction solar cells from R&D up to industrial mass production. PES asks Meyer Burger to bring us up to date on the continuous improvement which is enabling high efficiencies and reduced costs. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, a climate agreement was signed by 194 countries. Subsequently, these ratifying countries have set ambitious clean energy goals for the years to come. In order to keep up with the resulting growing demand for photovoltaic products, PV manufacturers along the entire value chain are expanding their production capacities tremendously. When acquiring PV manufacturing equipment, the focus lies on reducing production costs and increasing energy yield. With this in mind, Meyer Burger has developed the industry-proven Heterojunction Technology (HJT) and in doing so is setting the industry standard in the field of solar cell coating. Meyer Burger is continuously improving the HJT production process, today achieving an impressive > 23% in cell efficiency with minimal production costs by reducing the number of manufacturing steps compared to standard cell processes.

Read More

PES brings you WInspector, an advanced and innovative approach for on-site inspection of wind turbine blades. A research and innovation project which is part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. A consortium, composed of five members, TWI, WRS, Innora, Gamesa and London South Bank University has come together to find a solution for wind turbine blades inspections, by means of the development of a laser shearography system placed on a robotic platform, under the project WInspector. Overview Nowadays, Wind Turbines (WT) are one of the most efficient ways to produce green and sustainable energy, contributing in a high percentage to all renewable electricity. However, due to the stress suffered by the blades and caused by wind gusts, there is a continuous need for inspection and maintenance. According to CWIF an average of 3,800 blade failure incidents annually are attributed to poor maintenance, with a cost varying between 90,000€ and 900,000€ each, involving many accidents resulting human injury and fatalities. Blades reparations can be costly in downtime and expensive, and at the same time this fact reduces turbine’s operational efficiency. For these reasons, preventive planning through more frequent inspections is a necessity.

Read More

Words: Shelley Regan Across the renewables industry, UAV technology is now an established and essential part of maintenance inspections and surveys. The accessibility and capability of the mission-critical data gathered for asset integrity inspections has been a ‘game changer’. It is not just the savings in terms of time- and cost-efficiency that are decisive, but the numerous operational benefits that include improved monitoring and planning and the removal of risks to personnel. The technology has proven itself against so many long-established ways of working. The UAV inspection method avoids the need for rope-access inspections and associated costly asset shutdowns, saving time and money as well as removing the risks of working at height. Work scope for fabric maintenance can be quantified much more quickly and accurately through close visual inspection for example. CVI inspections generate thousands of images and high-definition video. All of this provides data to inform engineering decisions in a fraction of the time that it would take a large rope access team to cover an area such as a full turbine.

Read More

PES went to Belgium to investigate the latest development in extreme climate testing. The OWI-lab is using field experience to provide a purpose built testing facility in the heart Europe. Alternative energy sources are a key part in achieving the goals set at the Paris climate conference in December 2015. Non-polluting energy sources are seen as a vital part in reaching the targets. Alternative energy sources have been implemented worldwide, sometimes in less than convenient places. Field experience through completed projects has grown exponentially. This means more challenging projects have become viable options. It is now possible to embark on the projects, knowing the greater installation costs and OM challenges no longer outweigh the benefits, which come from this work. One of the challenges, in this expanding business, is to cope with developments in remote locations, with extreme environmental conditions. OEMs and components suppliers are looking to adapt their products to these demanding environments, by optimising design or adding specialised features. The adapted systems are prone to failures, which are related to these extreme conditions, such as sealing problems caused by differential thermal expansion, cracks due to change in brittleness, or problems with lubrication, or hydraulics due to changed viscosity. Therefore

Read More

What makes a good Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV)? SeaRenergy carried out an extensive study and shares the results with PES, highlighting ideas and suggestions based on design and offshore site challenges. With the first offshore wind projects evolving in the Baltic Sea, SeaRenergy was recently asked for advice on suitable crew transfer vessels for these waters. The underlying question was about how to achieve the highest possible utilisation in terms of workability and crew welfare. In order to properly evaluate all possible crew transfer vessel designs and sizes, weather data from two different locations were collected and analysed. Sufficient data through wave rider buoys and meteorological stations were gathered from two locations, situated in the German waters of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Analysis in addition to the geographical circumstances led us to conclude that wave length is the most important factor when looking at CTV designs. The North Sea has deeper waters with an average depth of around 95 m, direct connection to the Atlantic Ocean and therefore strong currents due to water streams and tides. A combination of these aspects enables a development of long and high wind waves as well as long and high swells.

Read More

Abstract: Larger wind turbines and increasing water depths are presenting industry with new challenges for the realisation of economical foundation systems. The issues confronting industry here are manifold and include not only the optimisation and validation of structures or soil-structure interaction models, but also the development of economical installation methods with mitigated noise levels. Experimental validation of prediction models Optimised calculation methods are required for the economical design of support or foundation structures. The engineer has a broad range of prediction models with different levels of complexity available for this purpose. During the design process, these models complement each other and can be categorised as semi-empirical models, analytical models, or numerical models. The decision as to which of these models represents the engineering problem with sufficient accuracy is usually based on experience. All models have one thing in common though: Regardless of whether they are simple or complex, they have to be validated with the aid of physical experiments before they can be utilised. A distinction is made here between small-scale, large-scale, and real-scale experimental tests. Since the load-bearing and deformation behaviour of the soil depends on the stress level, small-scale tests (scale 1:100 to 1:30) are often not sufficiently accurate

Read More

As the PV market is growing, so also is the need for more reliable measurements. Because the output power of every module should be measured in production and as the resulting power class affects the selling price, inaccurate measurements lead to money loss. Other tests on the quality of PV modules are also performed based on the needs of the end user and because of market regulation. These include, for example, electroluminescence imaging, electrical safety testing of the modules and visual inspection. Key aspects in reliable measurements are high quality testing equipment and information on their actual performance, ease of use and level of automation. Finland based Endeas Oy has been manufacturing solar simulators since 2001. A global clientele has proven that QuickSun solar simulators are a key part in highly efficient production lines. QuickSun 550CE is the latest high-end testing station that can perform all necessary tests to prove PV modules from production are of high quality. Standards International standards give the mandatory testing requirements. They tell which kinds of tests should be performed and what kind of equipment should be used for the tests. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)[1] prepares standards for the PV industry. These include safety standards on the construction

Read More

PES hears from Stephen L. Prince, President & CEO at Younicos, about the adaptability and different complexities associated with the use of batteries by commercial and industrial energy users. Despite being a relatively new technology, energy storage has already traveled a long and impressive path on the road to full-scale commercialization. It started with niche applications and the provision of very specific ancillary services to stabilize the grid. Now, however, batteries are being adopted much more broadly – making full use of their versatility, which is a defining factor of energy storage systems. In fact, it’s this versatility that makes them ideally suited for commercial and industrial (C&I) energy users - with or without co-located, renewable self-generation. That sounds good - from 30,000 feet in the air. But how exactly can C&I energy users address their energy needs through batteries? While individual use cases differ by geography and the specific energy needs of each user, all fall within what I like to call the “golden triangle” of C&I energy storage: price reduction, extra revenues and increased resilience. Let’s look at each in some detail: The first, and I suppose most obvious, application of commercial energy storage is the reduction of peak consumption

Read More

In general mounting components play a minor role across the PV sector as a whole. Most of the focus is on PV modules, electricity and annual yield. Compared to the key role of these components, this is somehow astonishing. Additionally, there are daring improvements, for flat-roofs for example, where there has been far reaching development over the past five years. As the development of new components for pitched roofs has slowed down, the amount of damaged installations has increased. This leads on directly to the root cause and certainly won’t be found in the lack of proper components. Apart from inappropriate installation, in some cases, the lack of proper calculation of the measurements of the mounting components can be easily identified as the reason. There are a couple of reasons which explain this problem. One is historic, the German DIN, where only the calculation of fixations per m2 was required. The result did not tell the installer precisely where to position them. Another one is that most planners and installers seemed to operate well estimating the type of fixation, rail and layout, based on their experience. Today both EUROCODE and its national annexes and US Building Code require a detailed calculation of

Read More

The ongoing trend to push high-efficiency PV cell devices to higher efficiency levels is more and more accompanied by the adaption of semiconductor device fabrication standards. One of the reasons is the rising sensitivity of p-i-n PV cell structures of thin film layer stacks to the impact of impurities, which may be increasingly harmful with respect to the proper functionality of the layers themselves or their surface interaction. Therefore, suitable measures have to be implemented to suppress such film contamination in the manufacturing process. From the equipment point of view, it is highly desirable to avoid potential contamination sources upfront and to implement efficient treatments for avoiding so-called memory effects. Specifically, for the manufacture of HJT devices Indeotec has produced a successful design with its PECVD Mirror Reactor concept, which eliminates the need of wafer flipping and hence eliminated the potential contamination source of flipping automation. Additionally, Indeotec successfully tested a plasma treatment method which means it’s possible to put the intrinsic and the subsequent doped a-Si:H layer in one reactor, which could reduce the number of required deposition chambers by half.

Read More