The project also includes the construction of an 850-foot-tall solar tower that receives focused sunlight, the world's tallest such structure once complete.
The contract was awarded to a consortium of China's Shanghai Electric and Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power, who bid a Levelized Cost of Electricity of 7.3 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour—a record low price for concentrated solar power (CSP).
"Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world," Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, said.
CSPs use mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays to heat molten salt and produce superheated steam to drive a generator's turbines. Unlike traditional solar panels, CSPs can produce power long after the sun has set, and can store energy for up to 15 hours.
The massive solar park is part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide 7 percent of the emirate's total power output from clean energy sources by 2020, 25 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050.
"This project is a game changer in our quest to decarbonize electricity generation by making available renewable energy at a price that competes with fossil fuel-generated electricity without subsidy not just when the sun is shining but at any time of the day and night," Paddy Padmanathan, president and CEO of ACWA Power, said in a news release.
By Paul Brown
The massive expansion of solar panels on rooftops and solar farms across the world has captured the headlines, but the other established way of generating electricity from sunlight—concentrated solar power (CSP), or solar tower power—is also making great strides.
For a long time, using mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays to heat molten salt and produce superheated steam to drive a generator's turbines was thought to be a more promising technology than photovoltaic panels (PV), because it was originally cheaper.
But as the price of the panels has dropped dramatically in the last five years, CSP fell out of favor, although some countries continued to support its development.
Now the cost of CSP is also falling. But it has another major advantage: unlike the panels, it can go on producing power long after the sun has set, and can store it for up to 15 hours, for use when it's needed.
Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, where sunshine is almost guaranteed, is a fan of both solar technologies. It has just announced that electricity from a proposed 200 megawatt CSP project, to be completed in 2021, will be priced at 9.45 cents per kilowatt hour—40 percent below the previous world record.
The cost is well above the three cents per kilowatt hour of the cheapest solar PV, but has the advantage of running for 15 hours at full power during the night, doing away with the need for any fossil fuels for back-up generation.
CSP has many variations, all ways of concentrating solar power onto liquid to heat it and so create steam for driving turbines. The two main types use parabolic troughs or mirrors to aim the sunlight at a central tower. Troughs have been more widely used so far, but towers are gaining fast—the latest scheme, Dubai's, uses a tower.
Current technology for storage uses sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate together heated to 566°C to store the heat in a large tank until it is needed. It is then fed gradually through a heat exchanger to produce superheated steam for the turbines.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has ambitious plans to reach 1000 megawatts of CSP as part of plans to boost capacity for its solar park from 1,000 MW by 2020 to 5,000 MW by 2030. The first 13 MW of PV came on line in 2013. The city aims to have seven percent of clean energy by 2020, 25 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050.
There were a number of bids for Dubai's CSP projects. Consortiums included Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power and China's Shanghai Electric, followed by the Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar, with partners EDF of France and Abengoa of Spain.
Saeed Al Tayer, the managing director and chief executive of Dewa, claimed: "The UAE's focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar and wind power bids in Europe and the Middle East."
Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive of Acwa Power, said it was exciting to see CSP technology with storage "offering dispatchable solar energy—day and night, competing with fossil fuel-based alternatives." Several of the companies involved said they would continue to compete for future projects.
The U.S. was one of the pioneers of CSP, and many sunny countries in the Middle East and Africa are now developing projects, including South Africa, but, as with many other renewable projects, China is hoping to take a lead.
China plans to build 1.3 GW of CSP capacity by 2018 in a first batch of 20 CSP projects which includes nine solar towers, seven parabolic trough plants and four linear Fresnel plants (using a form of lens which also concentrates solar power).
So far, the Chinese have yet to decide which is the most promising technology.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Climate News Network.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Elon Musk's grand vision of a Hyperloop system that can transport people and cargo through high-speed vacuum tubes is coming to life in the United Arab Emirates.
The near-supersonic railway would connect the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi with Dubai, the area's most populous city, in only 12 short minutes. This journey normally requires about two hours of travel by car or train.
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One and Dubai's Road and Transport Authority announced their new partnership Tuesday atop Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
"We are here today to sign a historic agreement with our partners from (the Dubai) Road and Transport Authority ... and we begin to evaluate the delivery of the world's first hyperloop system across the country," Hyperloop One CEO, Rob Lloyd, told reporters.
The Roads and Transport Authority and Hyperloop One have agreed to develop a prototype of the hyperloop and the feasibility of building a hyperloop system that can link the two cities.
The Future of Global Transport: Hyperloop One’s New Vision in Collaboration with RTA and the Accelerators Program… https://t.co/Xeh7jA9j0N— Dubai Media Office (@Dubai Media Office)1478602588.0
Hyperloop One's vision consists of combining autonomous vehicles with Hyperloop technology, according to a company press release:
"Individuals can commute for limited distances within the city in small self-driving vehicles. These vehicles can then board the Hyperloop train to travel for longer distances—including between cities—with speeds that can reach 1,200 kilometers per hour, exceeding aircraft speed. Hyperloop stations will be spread all around the city, providing easy and convenient access. This would effectively reduce travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to less than 12 minutes, and between Dubai and Riyadh to less than 48 minutes.
"The new technology is set to have positive implications on urban planning; it will economize parking spaces as it changes the way individuals commute within the city, as well as to and from logistical centers such as airports and ports—not to mention the impact it will have on shipping."
The deal is also meant to help city-state move forward with the "Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy," which aims to render 25 percent of all transportations in the emirate driverless by 2030.
How the Hyperloop One's system compares to other transport options.Hyperloop One
Although Tesla CEO Musk came up with the futuristic transport idea back in 2013, he is not affiliated with any hyperloop companies. He has, however, encouraged other private companies to turn his vision into reality. Besides Hyperloop One, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is another firm trying to bring the technology to life.
When asked about the project's cost, Hyperloop co-founder Josh Giegel told the Associated Press it would be "somewhere between the cost of putting a road in and a high-speed rail."
The hyperloop features levitating pods powered by electricity and magnetism that can zip through low-friction pipes at speeds up to 750 mph.Hyperloop One
The Associated Press reported that at Tuesday's event, Hyperloop officials showed several circular station models for Dubai, including one at Emirates Towers on Dubai's main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road. Dubai's Jebel Ali port is also exploring the possibility of using the technology.
Hyperloop One is currently testing the transport system in the Nevada desert.