Category Archives: Technology

Microgrid Market is Shifting from Pilot Programs to Commercial Projects


Microgrids, which are smart grid networks for integrating distributed energy generation from both renewable and fossil fuel resources, are proliferating around the world in a variety of forms.  Microgrids may be grid-tied or remote and are utilized in several key application segments including commercial, community, institutional, military, and remote installations.  According to a new tracker report from Pike Research, one of the most significant changes in the nascent microgrid market in 2011 was the beginning of a shift away from pilot projects and toward full-scale commercial microgrids.

“A wide range of electricity users are demonstrating strong demand for power generation and distribution systems that can be operated independently from the utility grid,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus.  “A few of the market drivers include concerns about grid reliability, rising costs of fuel, broader availability of distributed generation technologies, and a drop in prices for some nontraditional energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.  Microgrids are now emerging from the experimental stage and are being commercialized at greater scale and for an increasing variety of deployment applications.” Continue reading

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How to Green your Computer


The production of computers is energy and material intensive, it creates significant amounts of waste, and uses many toxic materials. Therefore it is critical to purchase, use and dispose of computers in the most sustainable manner possible.

The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.

Below are some tips to help you green your computer usage.

✔ Turn on your energy management features - All computers, regardless of the operating system, come with energy management features. Be sure these setting put your computer in ‘hibernate’ or ‘deep sleep’ mode after a certain period of inactivity.

✔ Turn off your screen saver - While helping save your screen, screen savers do not save electricity.  Depending on the complexity of the screen saver, the screen saver may be using as much processing power as when you are using your computer to run programs. Opt to have your computer go into ‘hibernation’ or ‘deep sleep’ after a period of inactivity as opposed to using screen savers to protect your screen. Continue reading

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Electric Vehicle Battery Market to Reach $14.6 Billion in Revenues by 2017

Over the past few years, the automotive industry has increased its focus on the electric vehicle (EV) battery market by successfully introducing several new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as the process of moving away from petroleum-based fuels and toward battery power intensifies.  These vehicles will rely almost exclusively on lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries, while hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) will slowly switch from nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) technology.  According to a new report from Pike Research, the combined market for Li-ion batteries in HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs will soar over the next several years, increasing from $2.0 billion worldwide in 2011 to more than $14.6 billion by 2017.  The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that capacity shipments of Li-ion batteries for the transportation market will increase from 2.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) to nearly 28.0 million kWh during the same period. Continue reading

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Global Energy Storage Capacity to Multiply 100-fold by 2021

Although energy storage solutions such as compressed air and pumped storage have been around for decades, they have not had significant success in the global market when compared to the substantial increase in grid capacity over the past 50 years. Now, however, energy storage on the grid is reaching a turning point. Numerous new technologies – and variations on “old” technologies, such as compressed air and pumped hydro storage – are being demonstrated in countries around the world. To meet the growing opportunity, utilities, grid service providers, and equipment suppliers are all intensifying their efforts in the energy storage arena. According to a recent report from Pike Research, total energy storage capacity worldwide will increase from 121 megawatts (MW) in 2011 to 12,353 MW in 2021 – multiplying 100-fold over a 10-year period. Continue reading

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10 Tips how to Green your Lighting

Approximately 22% of the electricity used in the US is consumed for lighting homes and businesses. Incandescent lighting consumes more than 60-80% more energy than compact fluorescent lighting. 

The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.

By following the tips below, you can reduce the energy consumption of your home lighting.

✔ Replace Incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) – The incandescent light bulb has been the standard lighting source used in homes since the invention of the light bulb. Although, in the past decade, the CFL has been introduced to the market.  Modern CFL bulbs produce light very similar to traditional incandescent bulbs, but use 65-80% less energy. Continue reading

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Early Fuel Cell Activity Is Creating New Markets for Hydrogen

While hydrogen is widely used for its chemical properties in a range of industrial applications, its use as a fuel is still a niche market.  To date the largest demand for hydrogen as a fuel has come from the United States space program.  Now, however, fuel cells that use direct hydrogen are opening up new markets for hydrogen suppliers – ones with potentially high demand if some key applications take off.  Those key applications include light duty vehicles, forklifts, buses, stationary power, and scooters.  According to a new report from Pike Research, projected demand for hydrogen as a fuel will be around 107 million kilograms (kg) through 2015, with annual demand reaching 418 million kg in 2020.  While forklifts and backup power applications will drive demand in the first half of the decade, light-duty fuel cell vehicles will create significant new demand starting 2015, the cleantech market intelligence firm finds.

“Fuel cells are actually being put into service in large numbers today, and it’s not only about the cars,” says senior analyst Lisa Jerram.  “These different fuel cell markets present different infrastructure buildout pathways, with varying opportunities and challenges.  Stationary fuel cells, for example, offer a very different infrastructure story than vehicles.” Continue reading

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Energy Efficiency, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals to Drive HVAC Innovation

Most building owners have more pressing concerns than saving energy.  For innovative heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to achieve high market penetration in coming years, short payback periods are required.  The main objective of most HVAC installations and retrofits over the next five years will be reduced energy costs:  globally, 80% of decision-makers consider energy cost savings very important or extremely important in planning future HVAC changes, as reported in a recent survey conducted by Johnson Controls.

According to a recent report from Pike Research, HVAC innovation over the next five years will be driven by cost savings from more efficient energy use and pressure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  In addition, regulatory shifts, including more stringent codes and LEED requirements, will enable emergent HVAC technologies, which in some cases have been available for many years, to achieve market traction at last. Continue reading

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Nearly 600 Energy Storage Projects have been Announced or Deployed Worldwide

Energy storage technologies, which offer the promise of enabling a wide range of long-duration and short-duration applications for purposes of balancing electricity grid operations, are gaining increased momentum in the global marketplace.  While the industry still faces a variety of challenges including technology development and the need for cost reduction, a new tracker report from Pike Research indicates that nearly 600 energy storage projects have been announced or deployed worldwide, with a surge of new project activity during the past decade.

“Energy storage offers the opportunity to significantly improve the efficiency of the grid at every level,” says research analyst Anissa Dehamna.  “The energy storage market is dynamic, but still immature where most technologies are concerned.  The vast majority of active storage projects are utilizing decades-old pumped hydro storage technologies, but the industry has entered a new period of innovation as a number of market players invest considerable resources to prove emerging technologies such as advanced batteries, compressed air energy storage, flywheels, and thermal storage.” Continue reading

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