EXPRESS #2 - October 23, 2018
Innovations: cooling of data centres, new electric heaters, organic PV films, green hydrogen
News in the category “miscellaneous innovations” – innovations that we think are significant enough to note: Dutch company Asperitas has won the third edition of the New Energy Challenge, a startup competition organized by Shell Ventures and incubators Rockstart and YesDelft.
The company won the €100,000 grant from Shell for its “unique liquid-cooling solution for datacentres, called Immersed Computing.”
“The liquid cooling system is far more sustainable than traditional air-based cooling systems”, noted the jury, which “praised the product for its energy reduction and energy reuse in the fast-growing datacentre market.”
Maikel Bouricius, marketing manager from Asperitas, said: “This is a big day for Asperitas. Winning the New Energy Challenge shows that we, as a clean-tech company, are on the right path to green the datacentre industry. After two years of development we launched our first solution in 2017, deployed the first projects this year and we expect winning this award can speed up our development once more.”
Immersed Computing “builds on existing liquid immersion cooling technologies by adding the integration of power and network components, improving cooling physics while at the same time maintaining a strong focus on design and engineering for usability”, said the jury in a press release. “With this technology the energy footprint of a datacenter could be reduced with 50%. Even better, the electricity used would be turned into another energy: hot water of up to 65 degrees Celsius. This is a valuable, scalable and practical resource for heating. It is a technology that offers a solution for an energy intensive application that is growing with immense speed.”
Geert van de Wouw, Vice-President of Shell Ventures, said: “Asperitas has come up with a complete and integrated energy solution that can be effectively utilised in most, if not all, situations. It is a technology that offers a solution for an energy intensive application that is growing with immense speed. For that reason, Asperitas can play a valuable role in the energy transition.”
Two runners up in the New Energy Challenge 2018 were Enapter and Lancey Energy Storage.
Enapter, which has offices in Germany, Italy and Thailand, offers a cradle-to-cradle recyclable, high-capacity energy storage solution. “Their electrolysers handle intermittent power from renewables and require no precious metals.”
Lancey Energy Storage from France offers “a new generation of electric heaters that contribute to the better integration of renewable energies on the grid and also to the reduction of heating costs. With their technology, they make it possible for everybody to take part in the energy transition.”
German company Heliatek has announced that it has installed 185 m² of organic photovoltaic films on the façade of a warehouse of the Duisburger HafenAG in August. It is a sub-project within the cooperation agreement Drehkreuz Energiewende, which was established between the Duisburger Hafen AG and the energy company Innogy in 2016.
The trial installation has 192 three-metre long HeliaSol film panels, making it the largest facade installation to date with organic photovoltaics (OPV), according to the company.
It describes HeliaSol as “an extremely lightweight, very thin and flexible solar film that is produced in an energy-efficient roll-to-roll process in Germany. Equipped with a self-adhesive backing, the film can be applied directly to a variety of surfaces without further assembly efforts, and without affecting the structure underneath. With the project in Duisburg, the solar films were glued directly onto the metal facade of the warehouse. Ventilation or cooling is not necessary as the films do not lose power or efficiency at high temperatures, unlike crystalline solar technology.”
According to Heliatek, “the 185 m² of films generate about as much energy as a 5-person household would consume annually”. Not too much it seems, but its potential is in its possibly widespread use. The company claims that “due to the efficient use of materials and manufacturing process, the solar films produce 80 times more energy over their lifecycle than is needed to produce them.”
Chemical giant Nouryon has partnered with Tata Steel and the Port of Amsterdam to study building what could become Europe’s largest green hydrogen cluster, the companies have announced.
The 100-megawatt renewable energy-powered water electrolysis facility would be located in the Amsterdam region and would be capable of producing 15,000 tons of hydrogen a year, as well oxygen for industrial use at Tata Steel’s IJmuiden works.
IJmuiden, which produces organic and metallic coated strip products for global markets, would act as the primary customer for the hydrogen and oxygen from the electrolysis plant. The hydrogen would be used for industrial processes rather than power generation.
Nevertheless, it would cut emissions by substituting thermal generation with renewable electricity as the power source for electrolysis.
“By using renewable electricity, the initial unit will enable a carbon saving of up to 350,000 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions of more than 40,000 households,” said Nouryon, formerly known as AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, in a press release.
Renewable hydrogen could also be combined with carbon dioxide, waste or steel mill gas to make plastics and thus reduce emissions through “new, circular value chains,” the release said.
Hans Fischer, CEO of Tata Steel Europe, said in a statement that the facility could play a role in helping the company become a carbon-neutral steel producer.
However, a final investment decision on the project is not expected until 2021, said Nouryon.