Posts by — techstar

Hawaii Electric takes control of Oahu solar panels
by TECHSTAR on NOVEMBER 5, 2014 - 0 Comments in SOLAR

Utility companies control access to solar feed-in to the grid

Salt Lake homes, Oahu – hostages of local Utility

A Hawaiian Electricity Company is putting up huge obstacles to individuals who want solar panels on their roofs, driving many of them to go completely off grid.

The company says it has a plan to interconnect thousands of rooftop solar energy systems on Oahu by December 2015. But that has been put on hold because of safety and reliability issues. (more…)

Pro-democracy protesters go off-grid to evade police crackdown
by TECHSTAR on SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 - 1 Comment in OFF-GRID 101

Firechat, Instagram, Whatsapp  outflank vicious government  crackdown in China

Going off-grid to beat Communist breach of charter

HONG KONG (CNN) — It was 10 PM on Sunday and 22-year-old Michelle Li, a dancer, saw Facebook updates of police tear gassing pro-democracy protesters in downtown Hong Kong. Within minutes, she followed online postings to the protest site itself — and soon had tear gas fired at her as well.

Only then did she peel her eyes from her mobile device. “While we were waging battle, we screamed out news to each other,” she tells CNN. “But before and after, I’d update people on the internet.”

It’s a high-tech response to a high-stress situation. Armed with top-of-the-line phones on some of the world’s fastest mobile networks, Hong Kong’s young protesters are able to organize themselves at a lightning pace older generations of activists could have only dreamed of. (more…)

Retired Engineer pimps his RV
by TECHSTAR on SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 - 2 Comments in SOLAR

Winnebago adapted for solar power

93m miles to the Sun

Thomas “Tim” Lemieux lives in an unlikely showcase for green energy: a 1997 Winnebago recreational vehicle.

Scale a narrow ladder up the side of the motorhome, and a compact rooftop solar farm comes into view. Photovoltaic panels adorn the top, and even the front hood.

They are linked to a series of batteries that help distill and cool water for drinking. Excess water and power feed an evaporative “swamp” cooler that keeps the cabin comfy.
(more…)

The battle for DC power starts in Pittsburgh
by TECHSTAR on SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 - 1 Comment in ENERGY

2014 OCT 4 Investment Weekly News — PITTSBURGH-

Is Pittsburgh to be home of a second War of the Currents?

In the late 1880s, Pittsburgh native son George Westinghouse (using the work and genius of Nikola Tesla) won the campaign to base the United States’ electric power grid on alternating current (AC). Thomas Edison, a proponent of direct current (DC), tried to paint AC as dangerous, but as things stood at the time, an AC grid was cheaper and more efficient, could carry electricity over longer distances, and was easier to build-so it prevailed.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Bopaya Bidanda, John Camillus, and Gregory Reed think that it might be time to redirect our attention to direct current. (more…)

New hybrid generator
by TECHSTAR on SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 - 0 Comments in OFF-GRID 101

UK Digger and Tractor manufacturer, JCB has launched its first hybrid diesel-electric generator set, supposedly intended for the off-grid market. But it does not allow for renewable energy inputs.

JCB claim to have developed an “intelligent,” hybrid generator. Based on the QS generators, there are 24 high-capacity, deep-cycle battery cells stored in the base of the unit. The batteries are charged by the generator itself during periods of higher load, when the engine is operating most efficiently. (more…)

How to keep solar generators running at night
by TECHSTAR on SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 - 0 Comments in SOLAR

* Promises more effective thermal heat storage than current methods

* Company expects quick market penetration

* Says can match fossil fuel-fired power plants on price

NEGEV DESERT, Israel, Sept 22 (Reuters) – An Israeli solar power company, Brenmiller Energy, says it has developed a new, more efficient way to store heat from the sun that could give a boost to the thermal solar power industry by enabling plants to run at full capacity night and day. (more…)

Harvesting Excess Man Made Energy
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 27, 2014 - 2 Comments in ENERGY

Albany NY designer, Manoocher Zarif is piloting a device that converts vibrations found in urban traffic into electricity.

The industrial design graduate came across the idea while he was experimenting with a Piezo device that converts pressure and movement into electricity, lighting up an LED lamp. He is in line for a JAmes Dyson award for his idea. (more…)

Trout Pout – off-gridders ticked off with obscure fish
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 25, 2014 - 0 Comments in WATER

Off-Grid Cabins in Holy Joe are victimised by trout-lovers

Fire chief says human needs trump trout

ORANGE COUNTY, Aug 24th – Mike Milligan trudges up the canyon, gesturing at bone-dry trees, streams that have turned to trickles and thick carpets of tinder- ready, dead leaves. A cigarette dangles from his lips, slowly becoming ash.
Milligan, the volunteer fire chief for Holy Jim Canyon and longtime cabin owner in the area, frets about fire. His firsthand experience tells him that the driest year on record – 2013 – has only grown worse. The first seven months of 2014 were the hottest ever in Orange County.
“I’ve been coming up here 50-plus years, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” Milligan said.
One problem? The canyon’s alder trees are dying. In healthy times, the alders shade fishing holes. During this drought, the tall, dead alders serve as potential torches. The desiccated trees also shed duff – dead branches and leaves – that in some spots is a foot deep.
The last time the entire forest burned was in 1908, though the smaller Indian Fire took out great patches of forest in 1980. (more…)

Platinum fuel cell trials in S Africa
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 4, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Renewable Energy mag reports Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, have launched a field trial of a methanol-fueled fuel cell home generator system in an off-grid residential application in South Africa.

Rural field trial

Ballard and AA Platinum have partnered with South African power utility Eskom and the SA Department of Energy to conduct the 12-month field trial. (more…)


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