Posts Tagged ‘ARPA-E’

16 April

1366 Technologies May Truly Be A Solar Constant ?!

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Watching the list of solar energy companies to appear and disappear over the years is almost like watching a revolving door….as solar energy industry continues to evolve. Yes, cost and efficiency are the two areas where many solar companies are concentrating their energy and effort in at the moment.  In recent years, many companies are directing their effort toward kerfless technology. One of these companies, 1366 Technologies, is worth keeping an eye on. The company’s name is referenced to the solar constantrepresenting the watts of solar energy that hits each square meter of the surface of the earth. It is  a company based in Bedford, Massachusetts that has developed a technique to produce silicon wafers by casting them in their ultimate shape directly in a mold, rather than the prevailing standard method in which wafers are cut from a large ingot.  The company aims to manufacture multi-crystalline silicon wafers, the building blocks of solar cells, at half the cost of current methods.

Traditional solar technologies may be replaced by thin and kerfless wafter technologes (credit: Smallman12q/Wikipedia)

Traditional solar technologies may be replaced by thin and kerfless wafter technologes (credit: Smallman12q/Wikipedia)

1366 Technologies casts wafers with a conventional thickness from molten silicon, creating a more uniform wafer quality than the current industry standard. (credit: Bob Frechette of 1366 Technologies)

1366 Technologies casts wafers with a conventional thickness from molten silicon, creating a more uniform wafer quality than the current industry standard. (credit: Bob Frechette of 1366 Technologies)

The company used a $4 million grant obtained from the United States Department of Energy‘s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program in December 2009 to fund research over an 18-month period. Grants from ARPA-E are designed to provide money to relatively small projects offering the potential for high-payoff results in fostering advanced techniques. 1366 Technologies was able to announce eight months into the grant period that it had achieved success in its casting technology, in which molten silicon is poured directly into a mold to produce wafers in their final form, a square 6 inches (15 cm) on each side that is 200 micrometers thick and are then extracted from the mold using a proprietary technique to ensure that the wafer doesn’t break while being removed from the mold. In traditional methods, wafers of this size are cut from a large single ingot or crystal, in an approach that leaves as much as half of the original silicon ingot as waste.


Below, a video that was published back in 2009 on the basics behind silicon-based solar cell technology by 1366 Technologies:


David Danielson, program director for solar energy at ARPA-E said that “early indications show this could be one of our great success stories.” ARPA-E’s first director Arun Majumdar estimated that current techniques generate solar power at a cost of $4 per watt, and that bringing down that cost to $1.50 per watt could lead to the widespread adoption of solar energy (solar industry is evolving very fast and is currently already at the cost level of slightly over $1.00 per watt). Company president Frank van Mierlo estimated that solar power generated using wafers from 1366 Technologies would be cheaper than power generated using coal. The company is now on their third generation of wafer-producing machines, which are full-sized, industrial line machines. The company will open a commercial-scale factory in upstate New York, slated for completion in 2017. This plant will start producing 50 million wafers annually, totaling 250 megawatts of output. It will eventually scale to 600 million wafers and 3,000 MW of annual production.

1366 Technologies has raised $70 million in capital to commercialize their innovation, from such investors as South Korean Hanwha Chemical, a major user of silicon wafers, as well as from Ventizz Capital Fund, North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners.


As the revolving door continues to rotate during Solar Evolution/Revolution, perhaps the name of a solar constant will bring forth a  longer stay than other abbreviated variables.

 

~have a bright and sunny day~
Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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4 February

Farewell, Secretary Chu, Difficult Job Well Done !

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Greetings, Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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It is with both sadness and appreciation that many of us in the solar/renewable energy world are receiving the news of  Secretary (of US Department of Energy) Steven Chu’s decision to return to his life of  a scientist.

Please view the announcement video clip below:

Secretary Steven Chu returning to his life of a scientist rather than a second term as the Secretary of Department of Energy (DOE)

In my opinion, Secretary Steven Chu is the first Secretary of Department of Energy who is truly deserving of his title  after many decades of Secretaries who could have just as well  been called Secretary of Nuclear Energy.  We appreciate President Obama’s insight in naming a Nobel  scientist with guts and pragmatism during this critical juncture in both American and Human Energy history.  Without the past four years of Chu’s tenure, we could not have seen the long list of scientific and clean energy programs, ranging from  Wind and Solar Energy Initiatives, BioEnergy Research Centers, nuclear safety, appliance efficiency standards, etc.  He is the first Secretary of Energy who truly appreciated the rising temperature as a present and growing danger to our planet earth and actively addressed this issue by building a foundation for research, creativity, and with funding guarantees to a plethora of clean energy projects supporting manufacturing plants throughout the country.  Since the list of accomplishments during his tenure is extremely long, I will simply name few of his accomplishments and share with you a more complete list made available via U.S. Department of Energy site.

  1. ARPA-E became a reality, designed to support high-risk, high reward technology development;this program has earned the respect of industry and academia alike for its outstanding funding choices and its thoughtful and thorough program management. Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx, thought ARPA-E was the best government funding program he has ever seen.  In the first few years, 11 of the companies funded with $40 million dollars have attracted more than $200 million in combined private investment.
  2. The SunShot Challenge called for reducing the full cost of utility scale solar energy to $1/watt, roughly equates to a levelized cost of electricity (LOCE) of 6 cents/kWh without additional subsidies created for the solar industry.  This is close to the projected EIA cost of natural gas and the anticipated LOCE on a new natural gas electricity generator a decade from now.
  3. The President announced an EV Everywhere Challenge, with the goal to achieve plug-in hybrids or EVs with a 100 mile range at the same cost of owning and operating a comparable sized internal combustion engine car with 40 miles/gallon for 5 years.
  4. The production of clean, renewable energy from wind and solar has doubled during Chu’s tenure.
  5. In addition to $25 billion annual budget, Congress entrusted DOE to make a $36 billion investment through the Recovery Act to help ensure that the clean energy jobs of tomorrow are created in USA.
  6. The DOE has made significant progress in encouraging collaboration between the basic science and applied science programs such that the Office of Science and the Applied Energy programs have collaborated from the beginning in the design of Funding Opportunity Announcements.  So called “Tech teams” that span Energy, Science, and APRA-E have started to meet regularly in areas such as solar energy, electricity transmission and distribution, computation, and biofuels.  Brainstorming sessions where young scientists are encouraged to share ideas and joust with Department veterans have begun.

At this point, I’d like to invite you to read/see the more complete list of accomplishments during his tenure, available at US Department of Energy site (<–please click).

Statement from SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch on the Notice of the Departure of Energy Secretary Steven Chu:“SEIA applauds Secretary Chu for his outstanding leadership of the Department of Energy and for his work to foster the growth of clean energy technologies to power America. Secretary Chu clearly believes in the power of science and innovation to drive change, which was evident in the way he led the Department. Under Dr. Chu’s leadership, the Department launched the SunShot Initiative, an effort to advance solar photovoltaic technology developments; promoted the clean energy loan guarantee program spurring $55 billion in economic investment; and advanced the prominence of solar energy as a critical energy source.

Under the Obama Administration, the amount of solar powering homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by nearly 500 percent – from 1,100 megawatts in 2008 to more than 6,400 megawatts today. Solar installations and jobs have risen dramatically throughout the U.S, while costs have fallen. Today, the solar industry employs more than 119,000 Americans at 5,600 companies, mostly small businesses, across all 50 states – this is more than double the number of Americans working in solar in 2009. The U.S. now has enough installed solar capacity to power a million households, and 2013 is on track to be another year of record growth for our industry.

“We thank Secretary Chu for his passion for solar innovation, his public service, and his outstanding work to advance renewable energy across the United States.”

We applaud you for having led us on the right path to a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable future powered with greatly increased amounts of renewable energy. Job well done!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments/suggestions/questions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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16 April

Response to President Bill Clinton’s Keynote Speech at ARPA-E 2012

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Dear Readers,

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If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you very much.

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Dear Friends & Readers,

Please allow me to share this speech by our 42nd  President Bill Clinton of the United States, who spoke at the 2012 ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency)- Energy Innovation Summit, held at Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront Street, National Habor, MD  20745, at 11:30 A.M.on day three (Feb. 29, 2012) of this summit.  This third annual Energy Innovation Summit is designed to unite key players from all sectors of American energy innovation community to share ideas for how to lead the world in development of future generation clean energy technologies, to develop our nation’s energy resources, and to build an American economy that will last. Please listen patiently and carefully, to the keynote speech below:


As you may have remembered, one of the main reasons why I even started this site http://sunisthefuture.net , was to try to increase better understanding of an effective incentive program, Feed-In-Tariff, for renewable energy.  So, I’d like to post a letter in response  to President Clinton’s speech, below:

Dear President Clinton,

After having heard your wonderful speech at ARPA-E of 2012 concerning the energy issue, I feel compelled to write you, hoping that you will consider promoting one of the low hanging fruits with proven track record of success in creating local jobs, speeding up nations’ transition into renewable energy age, and bringing forth economic prosperity. This low hanging fruit is Effective Feed-In-Tariff (FIT);FIT originated in USA during Carter’s administration in 1978, but more successfully implemented in Germany and was most instrumental in establishing Germany as the leader in renewable energy world. Understanding that in order to truly enforce an effective feed-in-tariff for all renewable/clean energies in USA, it is necessary to either change feed-in rate (implementing effective feed-in rate) on a state-by-state level or change our federal law. Neither is easy. Please refer to my web site http://sunisthefuture.net: May 8-Aug. 4, 2011;Oct. 14, 2011*; and Nov. 11, 2011* posts on effective FIT.  With your leadership and guidance, I hope you will consider to help promote the change necessary in order to induce the implementation of effective Feed-In-Tariff  for renewable/clean energy.  Then we will be able to see dramatic increase of local jobs, entrepreneurship in renewable/clean energy industry, economic prosperity, and clean energy including (and not limited to) solar rooftop installations.  Only then, we will have the opportunity of gaining the leadership position in renewable energy world/age.

Kind regard,

sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Now, my question to you, my friends and readers, is: do you think President Clinton will get to read this/my letter?

One can always hope….

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

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