Friday, June 28, 2013

Top Countries Of Solar Power Capacity Per Population

Clean Technica has come up with the ranking of countries with top solar power capacity per population. My country Malaysia is ranked 33, second in South-East Asia after Thailand which is 29. No doubt Germany is ranked no. one 398.63 MW of solar power per one million people. Below table shows you the top 46 solar countries.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Smog Is Finally Gone In My Hometown

The past week Malaysia and neighboring countries were under the smog attack. Finally it is gone! Even my hometown, Kota Kinabalu, never had the API above 100 but definitely can see the smog. The left picture was taken on 22 June and the right picture was taken today. Clearly you can see the differences. The far far mountain (which is circled red on the right picture) wasn't visible on 22 June. Today, I can see the mountain and BLUE sky. Hope it won't come back again.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sharp Is Making New World Record Of Solar Cell Efficiency - 44.4%

Sharp again is breaking the world record of solar cell efficiency. It has achieved a 44.4% of conversion rate in its "triple-junction compound semiconductor" lens-based solar cell system. Basically it is a concentrator solar cell with lens on its surface to focuses sunlight.

Does it mean we soon will see this highly efficient solar cell available in the market? NO!

Sharp is achieving this high efficiency using multiple compound semiconductor materials, like InGaP, GaAs and InGaAs, as shown below. Compound semiconductors are expensive comparing to silicon. They are mostly used in space satellites where high conversion rates and good space-efficiency are more important than costs. Sharp is looking to use the technology of compound solar cells in terrestrial applications in the future.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Malaysia & Neighboring Countries Are Under Smog Attack

Several places in Malaysia & its neighboring countries, like Singapore, Indonesia, are under the attack of serious smog. In Singapore, a record of 371 of Air Pollution Index (API) has been reported. In Malaysia couple places also reported API over 300 today, like Pasir Gudang and Kota Tinggi in Johor both reported 310 and 314, respectively.

So, what is API? API is an index to measure the quality of air. Pollutants that accounted in the index are sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), suspended particulates (PM2.5 & PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3).

So, what does API number mean?

My city, Kota Kinabalu, also not spared. Even the API level is still within "Moderate" this morning but looking out far things are getting blurred.

So, better to stay indoor, drink a lot of water and Chinese herbal teas. Stay healthy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Battery Made From Wood

Researchers from Maryland University, USA, have come up with a bold idea of new battery material. The new battery composed of a sliver of wood coated with tin. It has shown promise for being compact and tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy storage. The team thinks that this wood-based batteries would be best suited for large-scale energy storage due to the relatively low cost of the materials involved.

The idea was inspired by wood fibers from trees are supple and naturally designed to hold mineral-rich water, which is very similar to the electrolyte in batteries. Using wood sliver also helps to solve the problem of today's sodium-ion batteries often use stiff, non-flexible substrates, which are too rigid to release the stress that occurs as ions flow through the battery.

The wood battery has already shown itself to be rather promising. It has successfully lasting through a full 400 charge-discharge cycles.

Commercializing this technology doesn't seem to be hard as none of the materials involved are very expensive and the manufacturing doesn’t seem as though it would be very expensive either.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2013 Best Global Green Brands

2013 ranking of the 50 global brands with the most environmental appeal is just published. The ranking is produced by Interbrand and “powered by” Deloitte. The study measures the environmental perception of 100 global brands and compares it to those companies’ actual environmental performance.

Below table shows the top 10 green brands. The "gap" in the table is the difference between the companies’ perception and actual performance scores.

Friday, June 14, 2013

How Green Is the World & My Country - Malaysia

Above graph (based on 2011 data) shows the level of renewable energy in the electricity systems of countries across the world. The brighter the green, the higher the percentage of using renewable source for electricity generation.

Scandinavian countries, New Zealand, and Brazil have the brightest shade of green thanks to their considerable hydro resources. Same in China where hydro helps it to get to a lighter shade of green. Most other European countries have between 10% and 30% of their electricity from renewable sources. U.S.A. and Australia only have no more than 10%, and Russia and the oil-rich Middle East are totally black.

From the graph Malaysia only has 5.4% of electricity generated from renewable sources, which is still way behind of most South-East Asia (S.E.A) countries. But in 2011, Malaysia has established a renewable act to push for clean energy. The nation's target is to cut carbon emission by 40% (comparing to 2005 level) by 2020.

Below table summarizes the utilization of green energy in S.E.A.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Simple Android App To Estimate Malaysia Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Output

I have developed a simple Android app to estimate the output of grid-connected photovoltaic system (GCPV) of few locations in Malaysia. In the app you can vary few parameters to see how they change the output.

You can go to the Google Play Store and search for "Malaysia Solar Calculator" or scan the QR code below.

You also can go to to download the apk file and transfer to your phone to install.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Malaysia Alliance Bank Launches Solar Financing Scheme

Today, Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) and Alliance Bank announced the launch of the jointly developed Malaysia very first financing package called Home Complete Plus Solar Panel. The scheme is to help individual/domestic user who is interested to install photovoltaic system in their roofs under the renewable energy feed-in-tariff (FiT) program. Applicants is able to finance up to 90% of the PV installation cost.

With the launch of the scheme, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) is optimistic that the remaining 6.5 MW of the solar FiT quota in the individual category will be taken up in the next six months.

Minister of KeTTHA said, "The ministry is very much aware that financing remains one of the biggest obstacles especially for individuals who would like to install solar PV systems on their roofs."

Meanwhile, SEDA said that it is currently in talks with Bank Negara on approaching another three banks, mostly local, to participate in the scheme.

Pink Light Helps To Improve Indoor Farming Efficiency

Proper lighting is crucial for indoor farming. Conventional indoor greenhouses are using white fluorescent light to mimic sunlight, which incur a high energy cost. A new study, led by Prof. Cary Mitchell at Purdue University, showed that photosynthesis mechanism has peak absorption at red and blue wavelengths, which supplying the majority of the light needed for plant growth. The combination of red and blue color gives you a pink environment.

Pharmaceutical company Caliber Biotherapeutics are already using red and blue low-energy LED lights in a 150,000 square foot indoor farm, where they grow plants for clinical and medical use. They observed a lower energy cost and 20% increase in growth rate after switching to the "pink" light.

They are few advantages of using LEDs in indoor farming:
(1) Precise red and blue wavelength.
(2) Lower energy consumption.
(3) Higher growth rate.
(3) Lower light loss as they are cooler, can be placed close to the plants to maximize exposing and minimize wasting.

Friday, June 7, 2013

USA Saved US$675 Million In Electricity Bill By Switching To LEDs In 2012

USA's Department of Energy (DOE) has released a report on the saving in 2012 by switching to  LEDs in 9 lighting markets. The report also estimates the potential savings if these markets switched to LEDs overnight.

The 9 markets analyzed included: 

(1) Four indoor lamp applications (A-type, directional, MR-16, and decorative).
(2) Three indoor luminaire applications (downlight, troffer, and high-bay).
(3) Two outdoor luminaire applications (streetlight and parking lot/garage).

In 2012, the above 9 markets have:

(1) switched 49 million of LED lamps and luminaires.
(2) saved 71 trillion Btu (or 20.8 GWh) of electricity.
(3) saved US$675 million of electricity cost.

In addition, if these 9 markets switched to LEDs overnight, annual electricity savings could approach 3,873 trillion Btu (or 1,135 GWh), saving nearly US$37 billion in annual electricity costs. This amount represents approximately half of the total national lighting energy consumption in 2012.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

World's First Green Library For Children Opened In Singapore

The world’s first green library for children, My Tree House, was opened on 31 May 2013 at the Central Public Library. The library was jointly developed by the National Library Board and listed-developer City Development Limited. The goal is to encourage children to explore, discover and challenge their curiosity in learning and caring for the environment.

The library design incorporated energy-efficient LED lighting, refurbished bookshelves and sustainable carpets. The canopy of the treehouse in the library is made from more than 3,000 recycled plastic bottles collected from the public.

My Tree House contains 45,000 books, with 30% of them cover green topics including animals, plants, nature, water resources, weather, environment, recycling and climate change.

Children at My Tree House can learn about the environment through a multi-sensory experience, which includes a ‘knowledge tree’ which is a shadow play wall and children can interact with it to learn about the environment and energy conservation.
They can also discover more about Singapore's temperature, rainfall and wind speed life through The Weather Stump.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Energy-Efficiency Helps To Cut USA CO2 Emission In 2012

In 2012, the USA's energy-related CO2 emission fell by 205 million metric tons. General perception on the fall was deemed to the increasing used of natural gas in the electric power generation. The Wall Street Journal claimed that, "U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically in recent years, in large part because the country is making more electricity with natural gas instead of coal."

According to CO2 Scorecard, a policy initiative for tracking progress towards climate friendly economic growth, they contributed the causes of decline to the economy-wide energy efficiency and conservation measures in the transportation, residential and commercial sectors, and the mild winter in the first quarter of 2012. The contribution of natural gas in the electric power sector was limited to around 26% of the total energy related CO2 reduction in 2012.

I guess it is important to know where emission reduction comes from to better tackle the global climate change. When you can't generate enough then you should reduce and use efficiently. Energy-efficiency definitely plays an important role on today economy and environment.

For more detail of the report please visit Demand Reduction Slashes US CO2 Emissions in 2012