337: Wind Power Hub


Large land-based wind turbine farms take up space which could be better used for housing and agriculture.


A very big floating offshore wind farm

Equinor ASA, a Norwegian multinational energy company headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, builds energy captors offshore. They built the 88MW Hywind floating offshore wind farm to provide electrical power to the Snorre and Gullfaks oil and gas platforms in the Tampen area on the Norwegian continental shelf.

This farm is reducing CO₂ emissions by more than 220,500 tons (200,000 tonnes) per year, equivalent to the emissions from 100,000 cars. After this, Equinor teamed up with Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and Korea East-West Power (EWP) to carry out a feasibility study for the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, the 200 MW Donghae 1 project to be located close to the KNOC-operated Donghae natural gas field off the coast of Ulsan. They aim to start building the farm in 2022, with possible electricity production from 2024.

Equinor is also linking up with SSE to build an offshore wind farm in the North Sea. It will use the largest, most powerful offshore wind turbine in the world: GE Renewable Energy, already with 50,000 turbines in the field, is preparing the Haliade-X. While each blade is 107m long, longer than the size of a soccer field, its 260m mast is more than five times the size of the iconic Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Designed by LM Wind Power of Kolding, Denmark and built at their factory in Tianjin, China, one Haliade-X is capable of generating between 12 and 14 MW – up to 67 GWh annually, enough clean power for up to 16,000 households per turbine, and up to 1 million European households in a 750 MW windfarm configuration. GE Renewable Energy aims to supply its first nacelle for demonstration in 2021

Each of the new 720 ft. (220 m.) diameter rotor mega-turbines planned for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank in the North Sea will generate enough electricity for 16,000 homes. Together, the new generation turbines, built by GE Renewable Energy, will make up a windfarm capable of generating enough renewable electricity to power 4.5m homes from 80 mi (130 km.) off the Yorkshire coast, or 5% of the UK’s total power supply. In November 2020 Equinor and SSE completed a deal worth £8 billion to finance the first phases of the farm (

In June 2016, nine countries – the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden – signed an agreement to cooperate in planning and building offshore wind parks. The goal is to reduce costs as quickly as possible and thus make the wind parks more economically viable.

A study commissioned by Dutch electrical grid operator TenneT reported in February 2017 that as much as 110 gigawatts of wind energy generating capacity could ultimately be developed at the Dogger Bank location. TenneT (Netherlands and Germany) teamed up with the Centre for Electric Power and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (Energinet) and signed a tri-lateral agreement for the creation of a large connection point for thousands of future offshore wind turbines in the North Sea.

The ‘North Sea Wind Power Hub’ would have the potential to supply 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy by 2050. Working closely with Energinet, Vestas, MHI Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, ABB, NKT, Siemens and Ørsted, The North Sea Wind Power Hub is a proposed energy island complex to be built in the middle of the North Sea as part of a European system for sustainable electricity.

One or more “Power Link” artificial islands or modules will be created at the northeast end of the Dogger Bank, a relatively shallow area in the North Sea, just outside the continental shelf of the United Kingdom and near the point where the borders between the territorial waters of Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark come together. Dutch, German, and Danish electrical grid operators are cooperating in this project to help develop a cluster of offshore wind parks with a capacity of several gigawatts, with interconnections to the North Sea countries. Undersea cables will make international trade in electricity possible.

According to this plan, the first artificial island will have an area of 2.3 mi² (6 km²). Thousands of wind turbines will be placed around the island, with short alternating-current links to the island. On the island itself, power converters will change the alternating current to direct current that will be carried to the mainland via undersea cables. The Hub – one island at first, and later one or two more – is intended to make a substantial contribution to the energy transition and to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

The idea is that the structure would be built in modules, so that, over time, it would be possible to expand the Hub with more islands or enlarge it so that up to 180GW of offshore wind capacity could ultimately be handled. To get to that point, a lot of new technology would be required, both to transmit energy and to store it, hence the project.(

In October 2020 the Hub obtained a €4 million EU grant.

Meanwhile in March 2020, Shell, Gasunie, a Dutch gas grid operator, and the port of Groningen began to plan the NortH2 Project to provide 3-4GW of offshore wind capacity established in the North Sea by 2030 that would only be used for the manufacture of green hydrogen.

Electrolyzers would be installed along the northern coast of the Netherlands, in Eemshaven, and by 2040 the project may expand with added offshore electrolyzers that are set to produce 10GW of power. Shell currently has a 20% stake in a consortium that is building around 730MW of offshore wind off the coast of the Netherlands. (

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 338: X Prize Carbon Capture and Removal

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336: Flexible and portable water turbine


Machines for harnessing energy from flowing rivers are mostly built on the riverbank.


Mobile wind- and water-powered electronics chargers
In 2007, Robert Boyd, Geoff Holden, Adam Press and Andrew Cook of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada co-founded SEAformatics to commercialise mobile wind- and water-powered electronics chargers they called SeaLily and Waterlily.

With a flexible support shaft that permits the water current to orient the turbine with the flow of water to optimize flow across the turbine blades, the portable units weigh 1.8 lb. (800g.) and measure 7 in. (180 mm.) across and 3 in. (75 mm.) thick. They can be placed into a river or a windy place to spin up some power for any device that charges via USB.

WaterLily is designed for hikers, paddlers, campers, and anyone who spends time off the grid. It charges phones, speakers, cameras, battery banks, and even 12V devices, by generating power from rivers and streams. SEAformatics SeaLily enables reduced cost for the collection of environmental data.

In 2018, the Memorial University of Newfoundland obtained U.S. Patent No. 9,784,236 for their “Flexible Water Turbine.”

What you can do: Purchase a product from WaterLily Turbine

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328: Rotting Veg


One of the shortcomings in solar energy production is poor environmental conditions while vegetable waste needs to be usefully recycled.


AuREUS vegetable waste

Carvey Ehren Maigue, a 27-year-old engineer from Mapua University in Manila, the Philippines has developed AuREUS (=golden) a new fluorescent material made out of waste fruit and vegetables such as carrots that that can be attached to the sides of buildings to harvest invisible ultraviolet (UV). While ‘resting’, the particles remove excess energy, which bleeds out of the material as visible light and can be transformed into electricity.

The young engineer was inspired by the fact that UV light still seeps through on dark gloomy days when there’s not much sunlight that could potentially be harvested AuREUS could line the side of tower blocks to turn them into ‘vertical solar energy farms’ and power them for a fraction of the cost.

For his solution, in 2020, Maigue became the first-ever recipient of the £30,000 James Dyson Sustainability Award.

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325: Water battery


With global warming, the search is on to developed more natural air conditioning systems.


Air-conditioning “water battery”

During 2019, a team lead by Dennis Frost, Manager of Energy and Infrastructure at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), Queensland, Australia in collaboration with energy and utility services company Veolia, began to trial a three-storey air-conditioning “water battery”.

The thermal energy storage system will use a large storage tank of water that is cooled using a “complex thermal process” by the output of 6,000 solar PV panels spread across campus rooftops and car park structures on USC’s Sippy Downs Campus. The cooling and storage system is paired with 2.1 MW of on-site solar PV, which the University said is enough to cool 4.5 megaliters of water.

The water battery will help “slash 40% of grid energy use” at Sippy Downs. The cooled water will be stored and then used for air conditioning, currently the single biggest use of energy at the site is the start of an ambitious rollout of clean-energy developments that is planned to include renewably produced hydrogen and make USC carbon-neutral by 2025.

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323: Hydrogen-powered train


At present, Indian railways has a fleet of 19,000 passenger and goods trains. Of these, about 5,000 trains run on diesel. While diesel trains are more energy efficient than automobiles, they do have their own effects on the environment, including producing nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter that can contribute to air pollution and negative health effects. Diesel engines can emit a fair amount of nitrogen compounds and particulate matter as they burn diesel fuel.


Sustainable electric trains

Indian Railways is currently working on electrifying all of its lines apart from a few narrow-gauge lines. It has a target of completing this by December 2023. The electricity will all be wind and solar generated. India Railways is also working on development of a hydrogen-powered suburban train and has floated an Expression of Interest for industry participation,

In 2018, two years after Alstom had presented its Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train at Innotrans in Berlin, iLint entered passenger service in Lower Saxony. It had had been designed by Alstom teams in Salzgitter, Germany and in Tarbes, France, funded by the German Ministry of Economy and Mobility as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP).

Following the trials Alstom stated that it would build 14 Coradia iLint emissions-free trains, that can travel 621 mi. (1,000 km.) on one full hydrogen tank, and can reach a maximum speed of up to 87 mph (140 kph) with regular services beginning in 2021.

In May 2019, German public transport network Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) subsidiary fahma placed a US$ 500m order for 27 Coradia iLint trains. Alstom would supply the hydrogen fuel in partnership with Infraserv GmbH & Co Höchst KG. A refuelling station will be located at the Höchst industrial park.

During the first quarter of 2020, the testing of the Coradia iLint train was carried out the track between Groningen and Leeuwarden at up to 87 mph (140kph). Dutch railway operators and regional authorities are looking to replace diesel fleets for operation on non-electrified lines find it a clean alternative. (

Also in Germany, Siemens and Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems with their FCveloCity® fuel cell modules have announced plans to jointly develop a fuel cell drive for the Siemens Mireo aluminum railcar.

The collaboration will also include input from RWTH Aachen University and aims to develop a new generation of fuel cells featuring longer lifecycles, higher efficiency and greater power density. The project has received around $13 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of the Ministry’s ‘National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Program’. The fuel cell technology is currently slated to be ready for service and integration on-board the train platform by 2021.

In England Porterbrook is working in close partnership again with Ballard and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) to develop the HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen powered train. HydroFLEX, was developed using an existing Class 319 train set.

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Materials Energy

322: Smart textile, Radiative heat transfer


Many textiles are made for social etiquette and aesthetic purposes, but the pressing threat of global warming has created demand for innovative textiles that help to better cool the person who wears them.


Stanford engineers have developed a low-cost, plastic-based textile that, if woven into clothing, could cool the body far more efficiently than is possible with the natural or synthetic fabrics in clothes worn today – and without air conditioning. If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live, that will save energy.

Photon-to-cooling phenomenon relies on the atmospheric transparency window to dissipate heat from the earth into outer space, which is an energy-saving cooling technique.

The emissivity of aluminized Polymethylpentene (PMP) thin films as selected by the Stanford team matches well to the atmospheric transparency window so as to minimize parasitic heat losses.
This new material works by allowing the body to discharge heat in two ways that would make the wearer feel nearly 4° F cooler than if they wore cotton clothing.

The material cools by letting perspiration evaporate through the material, something ordinary fabrics already do. But the Stanford material provides a second, revolutionary cooling mechanism: allowing heat that the body emits as infrared radiation to pass through the plastic textile.

First, they found a variant of polyethylene commonly used in battery making that has a specific nanostructure that is opaque to visible light yet is transparent to infrared radiation, which could let body heat escape. This provided a base material that was opaque to visible light for the sake of modesty but thermally transparent for purposes of energy efficiency.

They then modified the industrial polyethylene by treating it with benign chemicals to enable water vapor molecules to evaporate through nanopores in the plastic, said postdoctoral scholar and team member Po-Chun Hsu, allowing the plastic to breathe like a natural fiber.

To test the cooling potential of their three-ply construct versus a cotton fabric of comparable thickness, they placed a small swatch of each material on a surface that was as warm as bare skin and measured how much heat each material trapped.

The comparison showed that the cotton fabric made the skin surface 3.6 F warmer than their cooling textile. The researchers said this difference means that a person dressed in their new material might feel less inclined to turn on a fan or air conditioner.

The researchers are continuing their work on several fronts, including adding more colours, textures and cloth-like characteristics to their material. Adapting a material already mass produced for the battery industry could make it easier to create products.

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317: Vanillin battery


Researchers led by Stefan Spirk from the Institute of Bioproducts and Paper Technology at Graz University of Technology have succeeded in making redox-flow batteries more environmentally friendly by replacing their core element, the liquid electrolyte, which are mostly made up of ecologically harmful heavy metals or rare earths – with vanillin.

Spirk and his team have refined lignin into vanillin into a redox-active material using mild and green chemistry without the use of toxic and expensive metal catalysts, so that it can be used in flow batteries. The process works at room temperature and can be implemented with common household chemicals.

Vanillin is also present in large quantities. Although it is native to Mexico, V. planifolia is now widely grown throughout the tropics. Vanilla is grown within 10-20° of the Equator. Most vanilla beans available today are from Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti. Vanilla flavoring in food may be achieved by adding vanilla extract or by cooking vanilla pods in the liquid preparation.

Vanillin can be bought quite conventionally, even in the supermarket, but on the other hand we can also use a simple reaction to separate it from lignin, which in turn is produced in large quantities as waste product in paper production.

Spirk and colleagues are in concrete talks with Mondi AG, a leading global manufacturer of paper-based products, which is showing great interest in the technology.

Discover Solution 318: Globally-transmitted wireless power

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316: Typhoon-harnessing wind turbines


Substantial winds are good for electricity production, but the very high wind speeds in storms can overwhelm traditional turbines. When the anemometer registers wind speeds higher than 55 mph (cut-out speed varies by turbine), it triggers the wind turbine to automatically shut off.


Atsushi Shimizu, founder and chief executive of Challenergy in Tokyo has developed a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), with cylinders in place of blades, and which make use of a physics phenomenon known as the Magnus effect

While the motors require an energy input to spin, this is only up to approximately 10% of the power generated by the turbine. The advantages of this turbine, in its vertical axis and Magnus-effect-exploiting design, is that it can adjust to any wind direction, and power generation can be controlled in accordance with the wind speed. The latter is done via flaps or “cylinder wings” incorporated alongside the spinning cylinders, which can be adjusted to control the magnitude of the Magnus effect.

Shimizu’s calculations show that a sufficiently large array of his turbines positioned in typhoon ally could capture enough energy from a single typhoon to power Japan for 50 years

Because the Magnus effect acts as the main driver, the rotation of the turbine is almost 10 times slower than conventional blade turbines. This means they are less noisy, and Shimizu is also studying whether the lower rotational speed has a less detrimental effect on passing birds.

The 10KW version, installed in Ishigaki, Okinawa, has already recorded its first electricity generation during Typhoon Hagibis in October 2019 and the power and communication lines were maintained by continuously supplying the satellite antenna with power. Challenergy claim that their design can survive winds of up to 70m/s (156mph) but has an upper operating limit of 40m/s (89mph).

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314: Reversible pumped storage systems


A reversible pumped storage hydroelectric power plant works like an enormous rechargeable battery. Its reversible turbines use cheap electricity during the night to pump water to an upper reservoir, in readiness for charging the turbines to meet peak demand the following day.

There are nearly 300 pumped storage projects in the world, and 40 in the United States.

The first use of pumped-storage in the United States was in 1930 by the Connecticut Electric and Power Company, using the 11 mi (17.7 km) long Candlewood Lake, a large reservoir located near New Milford, Connecticut, pumping water from the Housatonic River to the storage reservoir 230 ft. (70 m) above.

Its Chief Engineer, Paul Heslop described his design “The statement that a hydro-electric plant can pump its own water supply sounds absurd on the face of it, yet this is virtually what happens in the case of our the Rocky River Hydro Plant. ”  The technology pioneered at the Rocky River project using reversible pumps that also act as generators was not widely used in other U.S. projects until the 1950s and 1960s.

Another RPSS, the Cruachan Power Station, located in Argyll and Bute, Scotland which takes water between Cruachan Reservoir to Loch Awe, a height difference of 1,299 ft (396 m.) has a capacity of 7.1 GWh. It was the brainchild of Sir Edward McColl, a Dumbarton-born engineer and pioneer of hydro power while the civil engineering design of the scheme was carried out by James Williamson & Partners of Glasgow, and the main project contractors were William Tawse of Aberdeen and Edmund Nuttall of Camberley. Consulting electrical engineers were Merz & McLellan of Newcastle on Tyne.

Construction began in 1959 to coincide with the Hunterston A nuclear power station in Ayrshire. Many working models of the turbines were built and work tests were carried out on completed alternators before being delivered to the site. At the peak of the construction, there were around 4,000 people working on the project. It was opened Queen Elizabeth II on 15 October 1965 and is still in service.

Over in the USA, the Bath County Pumped Storage Station was built for the Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) between March 1977 and December 1985 The station consists of two reservoirs separated by about 1,260 ft. (380 m) in elevation. It is the largest pumped-storage power station in the world with a maximum generation capacity of 3,003 MW, when all six generators are operating at full power. National Public Radio called the station “The World’s Biggest Battery.”

Pumped hydroelectric storage (PHS) is by far the largest and most cost-effective form of energy storage today. In 2009, world pumped storage generating capacity was 104 GW, while other sources claim 127 GW, which comprises the vast majority of all types of utility grade electric storage. While the facility in Bath County is the largest now, a 4,000 MW project at Lake Revelstoke in British Columbia has been proposed.
In 2017 the largest pumped storage in Europe was the Cortes-La Muela hydroelectric project in Spain, rated at 1,762MW.

The largest in China was the Cuntangkou Pumped Hydro Power Station in Sichuan, rated at 2,000MW. The Snowy Hydro 2.0 pumped storage project in Australia completed a feasibility study in 2017 that proposed to expand the existing network of hydropower dams to provide up to 6,000 MW of generating capacity. It would become the world’s largest hydropower scheme with pumped storage. It has yet to be built.

Discover Solution 315: Skateboards from recycled and since recycling

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313: Photocatalyst sheet


Harvesting solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into fuel is a promising way to reduce carbon emissions and transition away from fossil fuels. However, it is challenging to produce these clean fuels without unwanted by-products, in addition, storage of gaseous fuels and separation of by-products can be complicated


Wang Qian a researcher at the Department of Chemistry, Cambridge University originally from Jiangxi province has collaborated with artificial photosynthesis expert Erwin Reisner, to develop a standalone biomimicry device that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into a carbon-neutral fuel, without requiring any additional components or electricity.

The 20cm² test unit called a photocatalyst sheet is made up of cost-effective semiconductor powders and uses light as its only energy source, prompting a reaction that produces formic acid, a storable fuel that can be used directly or converted into clean-burning hydrogen.

The wireless device could be scaled up to several m² and used on energy ‘farms’ similar to solar farms, producing clean fuel using sunlight and water. In addition, the formic acid can be accumulated in solution, and be chemically converted into different types of fuel.

Discover Solution 314: Reversible pumped storage systems

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310: Twin thin-film solar cell with 34% efficiency


Solar cells have come a long way, but inexpensive, thin film solar cells are still far behind more expensive, crystalline solar cells in efficiency. Theoretically, two layers would be better than one for solar-cell efficiency.


A team led by Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Evan Pugh University Professor and Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of engineering science and mechanics at the Pennsylvania State University, has suggested that using two thin films of different materials may be the way to go to create affordable, thin film cells with about 34% efficiency.

To do that the Penn State team had to make the absorbent layer nonhomogeneous in a special way. That special way was to use two different absorbent materials in two different thin films. They chose commercially available CIGS — copper indium gallium diselenide — and CZTSSe — copper zinc tin sulfur selenide— for the layers. By itself, CIGS’s efficiency is about 20% and CZTSSe’s is about 11%.

These two materials work in a solar cell because the structure of both materials is the same. They have roughly the same lattice structure, so they can be grown one on top of the other, and they absorb different frequencies of the spectrum so they should increase efficiency
“It was amazing,” said Lakhtakia. “Together they produced a solar cell with 34% efficiency. This creates a new solar cell architecture — layer upon layer. Others who can actually make solar cells can find other formulations of layers and perhaps do better.”

According to the researchers, the next step is to create these experimentally and see what the options are to get the final, best answers.The National Science Foundation supported this research.

Discover Solution 311: Ultra-strong coloured bricks from plastic waste

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Mobility Energy

308: Retrofitting vehicles to electric propulsion


According to Oliver Wyman of Lux Research electric vehicles are 45% more expensive to build than their internal combustion engined equivalents.


During the 1980s, many individuals retrofitted their gasoline automobiles to electric propulsion despite being held back by batteries with feeble autonomy.

In 1966, Daniel Theobald Cambridge, Massachusetts bought a 1966 VW camper off Craigslist, converted it to electric power in an afternoon and started re-engineering the vehicle for solar power.

Among them was Randy Holmquist of Errington, a small Vancouver Island community in British Columbia, Canada. In 1995 Holmquist set up Canadian Electric Vehicles (CEV) with the initial focus to provide the designs and parts for converting gas vehicles to non-polluting electric.

In 2000 Canadian Electric Vehicles was approached by Los Angeles airport to design and build an electric powered aircraft refueling truck. Over 70 of these three ton trucks have been converted and are in use at airports in in US, Dubai, Puerto Rico, Australia and in 2009 England. In 2012, CEV innovated a kit to convert Ford Ranger fleet vehicles to electric which was received by both municipal and private fleet operators in BC.

Today, across the border, there are some thirteen Electric Vehicle Conversion Companies

Across the Atlantic, in Newton, mid-Wales, Richard “Moggy” Morgan and Graham Swann e-retrofit models from the 1960s or 1970s including the iconic VW Beetle and its derivatives

Since 1954, it had been impossible to change a car engine in France, even to put an electric, batteries and thus drive every day with much less pollution. But on April 6th 2020, the French government published a ministerial decree that creates a legal framework for electric car conversions. ICE cars, buses, and trucks over five years old, and two and three-wheelers over three years old can now be retrofitted with an electric powertrain

This was largely due to lobbying by Retrofuture of Paris, who have “electrified” such vehicles an Austin Mini, a Peugeot 504 or a Jaguar XJ. With batteries today, but with hydrogen tomorrow, Marc Tison and Arnaud Pigounides are accompanying the revolution in ecological and economic mobility

Discover Solution 309: Shaded farming aka Agrophotovoltaics

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Energy Uncategorized

305: Molten salt storage system


Ouarzazate Solar Power Station (OSPS), also called Noor Power Station (نور, Arabic for light) is a solar power complex located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, 6.2 mi (10 km) from Ouarzazate town, in Ghessat rural council area: The gateway to the Sahara Desert.

At 510 MW, it is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. Unlike popular solar panels, which provide electricity only when the sun is out, the Noor complex is a thermal solar plant.

Noor uses concentrated solar power (CSP) by storing heat, allowing it to continue to produce electricity for hours after sunset. Its 797 ft ( 243 m) tower, the tallest in Africa, houses molten salt which is melted to create energy. A cylinder full of salt is melted by the warmth from the mirrors during the day, and stays hot enough at night to provide up to three hours of power.

This system had been patented in 2009 by Jesús Maria Lata Pérez of Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas SA in Getxo, Basque Country, Spain. Its first commercial use was Gemasolar, located located within the city limits of Fuentes de Andalucía in the province of Seville, Spain. Gemasolar consists of a 75 ac (30.5 ha) solar heliostat aperture area with a power island and 2,650 heliostats, each with a 1,300 foot² (120 m²) aperture area and distributed in concentric rings around the 460 ft (140 m.)-high tower receiver. The total land use of the Heliostats is 480 ac (195 has).

Managed by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) working with ACWA power, Noor has been built in four overlapping phases.

Construction began in May 2013, Noor I, with an installed capacity of 160 MW. was connected to the Moroccan power grid on 5 February 2016. Using half a million mirrors, it covers 1,112 ac (450 ha) and is expected to deliver 370 GWh per year. The plant is a parabolic trough type with a molten salt storage for 3 hours of low-light producing capacity. The design uses wet cooling and the need to regularly clean the reflectors means that the water use is high – 60 million ft³ (1.7 million m³) per year or 19.7 pints (4.6 liters) per kWh.

Water usage is more than double that of a wet-cooled coal power station and 23 times the water use per kWh of a dry cooled coal power station though life-cycle GHG emissions of solar thermal plants show that generating comparable energy from coal typically releases around 20 times more carbon dioxide than renewable sources. During 2017, Noor I produced monthly between 20 and 40 thousand MWH of electricity.

For the construction of Noor II and Noor III, Morocco called on the services of chief engineer Liang Xinfeng and a team from Shandong Electric Power Construction Co., Ltd (SEPCO III) in China. Construction started in February 2016 and after more than 1,000 days and nights of hard work,

Noor II was commissioned in January 2018. It is a 200 MW CSP solar plant using parabolic troughs. It has a 7 hours storage capacity. It covers an area of 1,680 ac (680 has) and is expected to supply 600 GWh per year. It uses a dry cooling system to decrease water use.

Noor III is a 150 MW using a CSP tower mirror field with 7 hours energy storage, it covers an area of 1,359 ac (550 ha) and it is expected to supply 500 GW·h per year. At 150 MW, the Moroccan unit, 820 ft (243m) high, is the most powerful CSP tower unit built. In September 2018 it was synchronized to the power grid. In December Noor III completed a 10-day reliability test demonstrating that the project can provide continuous rated power even in the absence of sunlight. The model HE54 heliostat has 54 mirrors with a total reflective surface of 1,921 ft² (178.5 m²). The solar field has 7,400 of such mirrors.

Built by Chint of Hangzhou (China) and Sterling & Wilson of Mumbai (India), the 72 MW Noor IV is nearing completion.

Once completed the Noor Ouarzazate complex will cover an area the size of 3,500 football fields, it generates enough electricity 580 MW to power a city the size of Prague, or twice the size of Marrakesh, protecting the Planet from over 838,000 tonnes (760,000 tonnes) of carbon emissions World Bank financed construction with a US$400 million loan combined with US$ 216 million provided from the Clean Technology Fund. (

Discover Solution 306: Oxygen evolving nickel foam catalyst

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Energy Mobility

301: Pedelec, electric-assisted bicycle


The millions of tons of CO₂ hourly produced by diesel/gasoline engined transport needs to be reduced.


Whilst millions of people pedal bicycles, some wish for a little more power. The electrically assisted bicycle meets this requirement and there are at least 40 million such e-two wheelers in use around the Planet.

Manufacturers include A2B Bicycles, Airwheel, Beistegui Hermanos, Gocycle, Italjet, Mahindra GenZe, Pedego Electric Bikes, F-wheel DYU, Fuji-Ta, Riese und Müller, Superpedestrian, SwagCycle alongside innumerable Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers.

Commercially manufactured e-bicycles have been in use since the early 1990s, although the arrival of the longer-range li-ion battery from 2007 increased the popularity of the pedelec. The choice ranges from the simple street scooter to the more muscular 2kW models where riders must show a number plate and are advised to wear a helmet.

Since the COVID19 pandemic, given the need for social distancing, the use of pedelecs has been encouraged by Governments and Municipalities.

What you can do: Drive a pedelec.

Discover Solution 302: Reforestation sponsored by search engine

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297: Tidal stream power generator


How to harness the prodigioius electrical energy from outgoing and incoming tides?


Immense supplies of electric energy are being harvest from tidal streams. Electricité de France (EDF) was a precursor with this technology when, in 1966, it built the tidal power plant on the mouth of the La Rance River in Brittany, France.

It is one of just two such plants in the world along with Sihwa in South Korea. The La Rance plant has an installed capacity of 240 MW distributed between 24 bulb-type turbine generators, each with a capacity of 10 MW. For almost 50 years, it has been producing around 500 GWh/year, equivalent to the consumption of a city the size of Rennes, France.

In 2007, Drew Blaxland, Director of Turbines and Engineering Services, having graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney, joined Atlantis to work with the Lockheed Martin Corporation, one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated global systems integrators in the development of a central axis underwater power generator.

In October 2008, Atlantis chose a site near the Castle of Mey for a computer data centre that would be powered by a tidal scheme in The Pentland Firth, off the north coast of Scotland is well known for the strength of its tides, which are among the fastest in the world, a speed of 19 mph (30 kph) being reported close west of Pentland Skerries.

Two years later, MeyGen, a consortium of ARC, Morgan Stanley and International Power, received operational lease from the Crown Estate to a 400 MW project for 25 years. By September 2013 they had been granted consent to install four turbines to generate 9 MW, three from Andritz Hydro Hammerfest (AHH) and one from Atlantis developed by Blaxland’s team.

Each turbine was installed on the seabed with a gravity-base turbine support structure and a 4.4kV turbine subsea cable. The onshore construction works of the project began in January 2015 and the first turbine was officially unveiled in September 2016.

In 2017, two MayGen turbines set a world record for monthly production from a tidal stream power station when, connected to a 15MW local distribution grid network managed by Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD), they generated 700 MWh of electricity, enough power for 2,200 homes. In April 2018, MeyGen Phase 1A formally entered its 25-year operations phase.

By June 2019, 17GWh had been exported to grid, a new record for the amount of electricity exported by a tidal stream project. Three months later, MayGen exported more than 21-gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity to the national grid and the array had operated at above 90% availability during 2019. That year performance represented the longest period of uninterrupted generation from a multi-MW tidal turbine array ever achieved. Full-scale production from 400 turbines is expected to start by 2020. (

In France, the Paimpol–Bréhat project is an 8 MW tidal turbine demonstration farm off Île-de-Bréhat near Paimpol, France. The project was initiated by Électricité de France (EdF) in 2004 and work began in 2008. By 2017, a hydrokinetic demonstrator designed and built by Thomas Jaquier at Hydroquest with a power output of 1 MW was installed on the EDF test site In 2019 it generated its first MWs. The tidal farm will consist of seven turbines, 2 MW each. (

In 2018 Normandy Region, SIMAC Atlantis Energy formed Normandie Hydrolienne to build a tidal stream plant in Raz Blanchard that could eventually deliver around 2 GW of capacity to the Normandy region. The first phase will be completed in 2021 following by an expansion of the project to 200 MW by 2023, enough to power 250,000 homes. Some of these are on the isle of Alderney. The total theoretical tidal energy capacity in the English Channel region is nearly 4 GW, enough to power up to 3 million homes. (

In the Netherlands Tocardo installed its first tidal turbine in 2005. Three years later Tocardo began to install tidal turbines into a primary sea defense, the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier. The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier is the largest of the famous Delta Works, a series of dams and barriers, designed to protect the Netherlands from flooding.

In September 2012, the complete 164 ft (50 m.) long support structure, including turbines, was transported over water by famous heavy lift specialist Mammoet. Using a special barge and Mammoet’s Self-Propelled Modular Transporter, the structure was put into place between two of the barriers’ pillars. (

The Afluitdijk, constructed between 1927 and 1932, is a major dam and causeway in the Netherlands. It runs from Den Oever in North Holland province to the village of Zurich in Friesland province, over a length of 20 mi. (32 km.) and a width of 300 ft. (90 m.) at an initial height of 23.8 ft. (7.25 m.) above sea level.

The Afsluitdijk is a fundamental part of the larger Zuiderzee Works, damming off the Zuiderzee, a salt water inlet of the North Sea, and turning it into the fresh water lake of the IJsselmeer.

In 2015 Tocardo installed three T1 turbines in the Afsluitdijk tidal barrage. The turbine array is an extension of the Tidal Testing Centre test facility and the tidal turbine that has already been producing electricity for more than seven years. The array has a capacity of more than 300 kW, producing electricity for about 100 local households. After fine-tuning and evaluation of the array, the project partners plan to deploy additional tidal installations in the Afsluitdijk with the capacity of up to 2 MW.

Tocardo has also installed its tidal technology at the Bay of Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia, Canada. Working with Minas Tidal, four of its 250kW-rated T2 bi-directional turbines, which are attached to the company’s semi-submersible Universal Floating Platform Structure to form a 1MW system held in place by catenary mooring systems.

In September 2019, Minas Tidal announced a partnership with Sustainable Marine Energy-Schottel Hydro to develop a 1.26 MW array in Canada that would ultimately sell energy to Nova Scotia Power. The first phase of the project is being financed by Reconcept Group of Hamburg, Germany.

Other firms such as Magallanes Renovables in Galicia, Spain have launched a148 ft (45,m) artefact (a steel-built trimaran), which incorporates a submerged part where the hydrogenerators are fitted, facilitating access for servicing and repairs.

In March 2019 Magallanes Renovables ATIR tidal energy converter (TEC) was installed at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal energy test site in Orkney, Scotland, by Orkney-based Leask Marine, as part of the Ocean_2G project. It was successfully connected to the grid via EMEC’s sub-sea cables and onshore substation and generated its first power a short time after.

Discover Solution 298: Modular houses from 100% recycled plastic

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Energy Planet Care Uncategorized

293: Passive Downdraught Evaporative Cooling (PDEC)


Leaking CFC and HCFC-based air conditioners contribute to GHG and ozone depletion.


Eastern architecture as an alternative to air conditioning. Chimney-like towers, (Persian: بادگیر‎ bâdgir: bâd “wind” + gir “catcher”) have been used for centuries to deliver passive cooling in arid desert regions.

Their function is to catch cooler breeze that prevail at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings. During archaeological investigations conducted by Masouda in the 1970s, the first historical evidence of windcatcher was found in the site of Tappeh Chackmaq near the city of Shahrood, Iran which dates back to 4000 BC.

A painting depicting such a device has been found at the Pharaonic house of Neb-Ammun, Egypt, which dates from the 19th Dynasty, c. 1300 BC (British Museum), while similar edifices can be found in Hyderabad, southern Pakistan.

Many traditional water reservoirs (ab anbars) are built with windcatchers that are capable of storing water at near freezing temperatures during summer months. The evaporative cooling effect is strongest in the driest climates, such as on the Iranian plateau, leading to the ubiquitous use of windcatchers in drier areas such as Kerman, Kashan, Sirjan, Nain, Bam and Yazd, the latter known as the “City of Windcatchers”.

The modernisation of windcatcher’s efficiency was proved in 1997 by Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri of Abhikram Architects designed the 1 million ft² (93,000m2) Torrent Research Centre for Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in Ahmedabad, India. It is a complex of windcatchers saved around 200 tonnes of air conditioning load.

The Kensington Oval cricket ground in Barbados (2007) and the Saint-Étienne Métropole’s Zénith (2008) with their aluminum windcatcher rooves both use this method. Since 2004, over 7000 X-Air windcatchers have been installed by Monodraught Ltd. of High Wycombe on public buildings across the UK.

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290: Million-Mile Battery


Most electric car batteries today already last 100,000 to 200,000 miles before needing replacement, though, while most gas-engine cars today only last 150,000 miles before getting junked. A large proportion of these batteries include cobalt, an expensive and precious material that is often mined by workers who are subject to poor pay and brutal conditions.


Three companies have developed a battery that can claim 1 million miles (1.6 million km) in total lifespan, last at least two decades in grid energy storage and give an electric vehicle an autonomy of 600 miles (1000 km).

Adam S. Kwiatkowski and a team at General Motors’ Global Electric Propulsion Systems have developed the Ultium large-format pouch cell battery which follow a NCMA (nickel cobalt manganese aluminium) chemistry that was developed within GM and require fewer connectors and other parts to function.

Compared to existing NCM cells, the Ultium is lower in cobalt content but with aluminum added to the cathode structure for longer life. Zero-cobalt and zero-nickel cells are also being tested, as well as with electrolyte additives and zeolite additives.

GM is working on such advances as zero-cobalt electrodes, solid state electrolytes and ultra-fast charging. GM is aiming to ramp up to a million electric vehicles per year by 2025, to be split between the U.S. and China. The new joint venture will supply U.S. vehicle production and could build up to 30 gigawatt-hours annually.

The second company is Tesla who will soon introduce a lower-cost, longer-lasting “million mile” battery for its electric vehicles in China. The battery, also a pouch-cell design, is being co-developed with Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) working with battery experts recruited by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, including Jeff Dahn at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The battery is expected to lower the cost per kilowatt hour (the unit of energy most commonly used to measure the capacity of the battery packs in modern electric vehicles) to under $100. By a coincidence, Tesla’s Chinese battery cell provider CATL is also working with GMs local partner SAIC (formerly known as Shanghai General Motors Company Ltd).

In Baoding in the Hebei Province of China, Svolt Energy Technology (the former battery business unit of Great Wall Motor Company) has produced a 24 GWh cobalt-free lithium-ion battery. By using single-crystal Co-free materials and stacking technology for cell design, plus the array-PACK design and the automotive-grade intelligent manufacturing process, Svolt has created a battery with a warranty of 15 years or 750,000 mi (1.2 million km) and an EV range of almost 500 mi (800 km)

Discover Solution 291: Single-walled and mass-produced nanotubes

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288: SeaTwirl


Installing offshore wind turbines takes time and money.


Sea Twirl

SeaTwirl is a floating vertical axis wind turbine (VAWTT) with a tower placed on an underwater structure which consists of a buoyancy component and a keel at its lowest point.

In 2007 Daniel Ehrnberg of Göteborg, a physicist interested in sustainable energy devices, successfully invented and patented the first prototype offshore energy storage device he called SeaTwirl.

The S2 version of his solution included a turbine that is divisible above and below the house that holds the generator and bearing, meaning that their entire housing can be replaced just above the water surface by boat.

Discover Solution 289: 3D house printer

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Carbon Capture Energy Materials

286: Pavements for carbon capture


As pedestrians walk on a walkway, instead of wasting good energy, the pressure could be used to transfer electromagnetic induction creating kinetic energy which can then be used to power devices.


Jose Luis Moracho Amigot and Angel Moracho Jimenez direct PVT (Pavimentos de Tudela) in Navarra, Spain, a company with more than 30 years of experience specializing in the manufacture of non-slip outdoor Granicem pavements.

In 2009, they adapted the system developed by Italcementi of Italy, to manufacture paving stones whose photosynthetic, concrete-titanium dioxide composition would enable them to absorb particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), and render them harmless.

Their patented product, ecoGranic, bio-mimics the performance of chlorophyll in plants. A top layer comprises oxide additives titanium incorporating a catalyst that is activated by sunlight, which then converts pollution that go with the rain nitrates and carbonates and the wind until it reaches where vegetation is removed. The lower layet consists of recycled materials.

ISO rule trials made at prestigious laboratory of the Dutch Twente University, and field studies carried out at different sites, showed ecoGranic’s decontaminating efficiency at up to 56% of nitrous oxide degradation.

A sidewalk the size of a soccer field with ecoGranic would eliminate pollution from approximately 4,000 vehicles. Following the success of three streets repaved with ecoGranic in Spain’s capital, Madrid, Plaza de la Cruz, an entire 10,800 ft² (1,000 m²) square in La Rioja, was repaved with ecoGranic, following by another square in Santander.

The technology soon spread to dozens of cities across Spain. The Navarra company currently has two plants, one located in Tudela and another in Cabanillas with a production capacity of more than 54,000 ft² (5,000 m2) per day. While PVT has signed with China to supply their ecoGranic decontaminating pavement, its co-inventor José Luis Moracho is working on a domestic version.

Meanhile Aira has produced a bicycle and a scooter which, by carrying the PVT ecoGranic tile vertically below its front handlebars can absorb CO₂ as it moves along. (

Discover Solution 287: Enzyme-based recyclable plastic

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285: Offshore floating wind farm


Towards the end of 2019 there were 5,000 offshore wind turbines in 110 parks with a total power output of 22.1 Gigawatts. Fixed to the seabed, these turbines are limited to shallow waters. Yet close to 80% of the world’s offshore wind resource potential is in waters deeper than 60 metres, too deep for the foundations, but where winds are stronger and more consistent.


Floating offshore wind turbines.

In June 2009, Norway’s Statoil (now Equinor) launched Hywind, the world’s first operational deep-water floating large-capacity wind turbine. The 120 metres (390 ft) tall tower with a 2.3 MWh turbine was towed 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) offshore into the Amoy Fjord in 220 metres (720 ft) deep water off Stavanger, Norway for a two-year test run.

In October 2020, Norway-based OIM Wind, together with its financial partners, has signed an EPC contract with the CIMC Yantai Raffles Offshore shipyard in China and its Swedish subsidiary Basstech for the construction of an installation vessel capable of installing giant next-generation XXL offshore wind turbines, including full height towers that reach more than 130 metres.

The vessel, currently referred to as BT-220IU Wind Installation Unit, will enter into service by the end of 2022 and will be operated by Norwegian company OSM Maritime. It is LNG-powered, battery-backed up, and made for 15+ MW wind turbines. It will feature a Huisman heavy lift crane with a lifting capacity of 2,600 tonnes. The crane will have a main hook height of 165 metres above deck and 195 metres above sea level, even at the vessel’s maximum operational water depth of 67 metres.

Following proof that the suction anchor system worked, Equinor and Masdar launched the world’s first floating wind turbine farm, at a depth of 100 metres and situated 29 kilometres (18 mi) off Peterhead, Scotland. The farm has five 6 MW Hywind floating turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW.

Work is now underway for the 88MW Hywind Tampen floating wind farm will comprise 11 Siemens Gamesa 8MW wind turbines supported by the Hywind technology developed by Equinor and expected to come online in late 2022.Once commissioned, the wind farm is projected to cover a third of the total energy needs of two oil and gas platforms, Gullfaks and Snorre, with wind power instead of gas.

Floatgen is the only floating wind turbine in France today. It is situated off the Mediterranean coast of Le Croisic, one of the largest wind resources in Europe, The venture is a joint venture of Ideol, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Centrale Nantes engineering school, RSK Group, Zabala, the University of Stuttgart, and Fraunhofer IWES. The anchorage system, developed by Ideol is a ring-shaped floating foundation based on a central opening system and called a Damping PooAbove this a Vestas V80 turbine is mounted. After two years of trial,  in February 2020, Floatgen produced 9 GWh of electricity

Milan-based Ichnusa Wind Power has applied with the Port Authority of Cagliari for a 30-year concession to build and operate an export cable connection for Sardegna Sud Occidentale a floating wind farm off the west coast of Sardinia. Some 35 kilometres off the coast of the San Pietro island, it will comprise 42 wind turbines measuring 265 meters each, on a sea surface of 49 thousand square meters.

Instead of the conventional three-bladed turbines, the Ichnusa solution uses a single-bladed angled, scalable rotor, able to adjust its angle to the wind currents of up to 70 m/s. The planned capacity is 12 MW each for a total of 504 MW.

In October 2011, Principle Power installed their 2 MW WindFloat turbine 5 kilometers off the Portuguese Atlantic coast where, during the next five years, it encountered 17-metre wave heights and 111km/h winds, but generated 17GWh of electricity.

Based on this, in January 2020, Principle Power is preparing a the world’s first semi-submersible floating wind farm for operation 20km off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal. The wind farm is being developed by the Windplus consortium that includes EDP Renewables (54.4%), Repsol (19.4%), Engie (25%) and Principle Power (1.2%).

The Fukushima floating offshore wind farm demonstration project (Fukushima FORWARD) serves as a symbol of Fukushima’s recovery from the nuclear disaster caused by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The phased development of the project includes the installation of three floating wind turbines and a substation at approximately 23km off the Fukushima coast.

The project is sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).The Fukushima Offshore Wind Consortium comprises ten companies, namely Marubeni, the project integrator, University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Marine United, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Hitachi, Furukawa Electric, Shimizu, and Mizuho Information & Research.

The first phase of the project consisted of a 2MW compact semi-sub floating wind turbine, the world’s first 66kV floating power sub-station and undersea cables. The turbine has a rotor diameter of 80m and a hub height of 65m above sea level (asl) and is placed on a floater called Fukushima MIRAI. A downwind-type blade, located leeward, was used for the project in order to make the most of the upward wind blowing from the surface of the sea.

Discover Solution 286: Pavements for carbon capture

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Energy Materials Uncategorized

282: Hydrogen-powered steel


Worldwide steel production currently totals about 1.5 billion tons (1.36 billion tonnes) per year, and each ton produced generates almost two tons of carbon dioxide, This accounts for about 5 % of the world’s GHG emissions.


In 2016, Swedish-Finnish steelmaker SSAB, iron pellet supplier LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag), and electricity generator Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, in the direct reduction of iron (DRI) ore, using hydrogen.

During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. Trials are set to run from 2021–2024, then scaling up to a demonstration capacity of 500,000 t/y in 2025 with completion set for 2035. the goal being to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035.

Hybrit is a significant part of the road towards SSAB’s goal of being fossil-free by 2045 If successful, HYBRIT means a reduction of Sweden’s CO₂ emissions by 25%. and Finland’s by 7%. (

In 2019 steel and mining company ArcelorMittal with an annual production volume of 8 million tonnes crude steel, launched a project in Hamburg, Germany using hydrogen on an industrial scale to directly reduce iron ore for steel production.

The company aims to enable low-CO₂ steel production. In ArcelorMittal’s process, 95% pure hydrogen will be separated from the top gas of an existing plant by pressure swing adsorption. To allow economical operation, the process will initially use grey hydrogen produced at gas separation.

Grey hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced as a waste or industrial by-product. ‘Green’ hydrogen – produced using renewable energy – will be used in the future, when sufficient quantities are available. ArcelorMittal, working with academia, will test the procedure in the coming years at a site in Hamburg. Reduction will initially be carried out at demonstration scale – 100,000 t/y.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, steelmaker Thyssenkrupp also plans to phase out CO₂-intensive coke-based steel production and replace it with a hydrogen-based process by 2050. It has partnered with Air Liquide and the non-profit research institute BFI to convert a blast furnace to hydrogen operation.

On November 11, 2019, in an initial test phase, hydrogen was blown into one of the 28 Cu cooler tuyeres on Blast Furnace 9 in Duisburg. The NRW state government is funding this initial project phase under its IN4climate initiative. Following analysis of the test phase, hydrogen is then to be used at all 28 tuyeres of the blast furnace in 2023.

On the same day, what is currently the world’s largest pilot plant for the CO₂-neutral production of hydrogen successfully commenced operation at voestalpine AG in Linz, Austria. As part of the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, partners voestalpine, VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET and TNO are researching the industrial production of green hydrogen as a means of replacing fossil fuels in steel production over the long term. (

Since November 2020 a 1.2 Mt DRI production plant powered by hydrogen enriched gas is being set up in China by the HBIS Group including a 600,000 ktpy Energiron DRI plant jointly developed by Tenova and Danieli in Italy. The HBIS DRI plant will use make-up gas with approximately a 70% hydrogen concentration, with a final net emission of just about 125kg of CO2 per ton. This is a historic step forward for the decarbonisation of the Chinese steel industry, which represents more than half of global steel production and related carbon dioxide emissions. It is scheduled to begin production by the end of 2021.

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Energy Uncategorized

280: Radiative passive cooling system


With the melting of Arctic ice and mountain glaciers which had previously reflected back solar heat and maintained global cooling, alternatives must be found, particularly for the air conditioning of buildings which traditionally use chemicals and electricity.


Qiaoqiang Gan, Electrical Engineering Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, working with staff from King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabian University have has developed an air conditioning system using a unique plastic on a roof that allows heat to pass back into the sky.

The ideal material for radiant cooling is such as a mirror or white paint. They will scatter or reflect most of the solar light. Therefore, the solar light will not heat the object. Then it’s easier to cool it down. Gan’s Newtact system, going beyond simple white paint, consists of an inexpensive polymer/aluminium film that is installed inside a box at the bottom of a specially designed solar “shelter.”

Taken together, the shelter-and-box system the engineers designed measures about 18 in. tall (45.72 cm), 10 in. (25. cm) wide and 10 in. long (25.4 cm). As a commercially viable alternative, the researchers fabricated their thermal emitter from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and either silver or aluminium.

The PDMS film absorbs heat from the environment and then transmits the heat to cool down its surroundings. The metal reflects the solar light to prevent the transmission of sunlight to materials under the emitter, such as a roof.

The film helps keep its surroundings cool by absorbing heat from the air inside the box and transmitting that energy into outer space. The shelter serves a dual purpose, helping to block incoming sunlight, while also beaming thermal radiation emitted from the film into the sky.

Outdoor experiments performed in Buffalo, NY, to test the device provided cooling of up to 9 °C. To cool a building, numerous units of the system would need to be installed to cover its roof.

Working in Stanford University, Shanhui Fan, Eli A; Goldstein, and Aaswath Pattabhi Raman have also developed a flat rectangular metal panel covered in a sheet of the material: a high-tech film which reflects the light and heat of the sun so effectively that the temperature beneath the film can drop 5 to 10° C (9 to 18° F) lower than the air around it.

A system of pipes behind the RC panel is exposed to that colder temperature, cooling the fluid inside before it is sent out to current-day refrigeration systems. More efficient than any vapour-compression based cooling system, the panel can also prevent the emissions of CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases. It can be roof-mounted as a simple add-on to new and existing cooling systems

To commercialise their innovation, Fan, Goldstein and Raman started up a company, SkyCool Systems in Davis, California. As a pilot study, they installed an array of RC panels on the roof a supermarket as a subcooler and were pleased to observe a 10% to 15% efficiency improvement target, although subcooling could be as much as 20°F (11°C) below the outlet of the condenser. Other studies have followed.

Discover Solution 281: Sea grass

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Energy Planet Care

277: Nuclear fusion power station -Tokamak reactors


The world’s 440 nuclear fission plants generate only 10% of the world’s electrity while presenting the lethal menace of dealing with waste by transporting it to deep earth burial sites.


Nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two lighter nuclei, typically isotopes of hydrogen, combine together under conditions of extreme pressure and temperature to form a heavier nucleus, releasing energy in the process. Fusion has been powering the sun and stars since their formation.

Unlike fission, fusion will have a low burden of radioactive waste. The energy released during fusion in the sun makes all life on earth possible. The simplest way to replicate the primordial source of power on earth is via the fusion of deuterium and tritium.

Deuterium is found aplenty in ocean water, enough to last for billions of years. Naturally occurring tritium is extremely rare, but it can be produced inside a reactor by neutron activation of lithium, found in brines, minerals and clays. Moreover, to run a 1,000 MW power plant with a fusion reactor, it is estimated that about 150kg of deuterium and three tonnes of lithium would be required per year, while the current fission reactors consume 25 to 30 tonnes of enriched uranium.

Fusion’s by-product is helium, which is an inert, non-toxic, non-radioactive gas used to inflate balloons. In addition, a fusion power plant would not require transporting hazardous radioactive materials.

The 35-nation International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) including states from theEuropean Union, the USA, India, Japan, South Korea and Russia began construction at Cadarache in France. It is the world’s largest fusion reactor, taking up equivalent to 60 football pitches.

Launched in 2006, ITER was beset with technical delays, labyrinthine decision-making and costs that have soared from an initial estimate of five billion euros to around 20 billion euros.

In the chaos of the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union, or Brexit, there is now at least one certainty: As the UK’s quest to produce clean energy from nuclear fusion by 2040, The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Oxfordshire, UK but supported by the European Union will keep operating until the end of 2020, thanks to a €100 million infusion of EU funds.

The deal, agreed in April 2019, will enable the Joint European Torus (JET) to embark on a daring fusion campaign with a rare, tricky fuel that will help pave the way for its successor: the giant ITER fusion reactor under construction in France.

The agreement comes as a relief to fusion researchers, who had feared JET would be shut down after Brexit. Now, they can go ahead with plans to gradually switch to a fuel mix of deuterium and tritium, both hydrogen isotopes. The latter is rare and hard to handle, but the change will provide the most ITER-like dress rehearsal before the main event in 2025. The same “D-T” reactions will ultimately power ITER and the commercial reactors that follow it.

Nuclear fusion is usually done in hollow, donut-shaped reactors called tokamaks, which are filled with rings of plasma as hot as the Sun. Soviet scientists coined the term as a shortening of the Russian for “toroidal magnetic confinement.”

The name is perfectly descriptive. A tokamak is a torus—the math term for a donut. But this takes tremendous effort to maintain the intense pressures and temperatures required for an “artificial star” here on Earth. Eruptions called edge-localized modes (ELMs) have been damaging the walls of reactors, making them less secure and requiring the replacement of parts far too regularly.

The problem was that the plasma used is inherently unstable, and large eruptions can damage the reactors containing it. Recently, physicists from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that creating a series of small ELMs could prevent larger, more damaging ones from occurring.

These smaller eruptions could be triggered by injecting granules of beryllium, measuring about 1.5 mm thick into the boiling plasma at regular intervals. Following computer simulations, the team ran physical experiments in the DIII-D, a tokamak reactor housed in the National Fusion Facility in San Diego prior to testing the technique out on other tokamaks, such as the Joint European Torus (JET).

The next breakthrough came when scientists developed a new superconducting material, essentially a steel tape coated with yttrium-barium-copper oxide (YBCO) enabling smaller and more powerful magnets. This in turn lowers the energy required to get the fusion reacton off the ground. With 18 nobium-in superconducting magnets (aka torroidal-field coils) installed, 150 million degrees celius was finally in sight

November 2019 saw the completion of the seven-storey Tokamak Building, after six million work hours, performed by approximately 850 workers since 2010. Some 105,000 tonnes of concrete, reinforced by approximately 20,000 tonnes of steel rebar, had gone into the building’s construction.

Transport of component parts was been a major undertaking. The PF6 (the second-smallest of the six coils that circle the vacuum vessel) weighing 396 tonnes and measuring 40 ft. (12 m.) long, 36 ft. (11 m.) wide and a little more than 13 ft. (4 m.) high, was made in China under an agreement signed between the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) and the procuring party, the European Domestic Agency.

Transported by ship, having arrived at Fosses-sur-Mer, the port of Marseilles, for this “highly exceptional load” (HEL) to reach the ITER site, approximately 2,220 cubic yards (1,700 cubic m.) of roadside rock and trees had to be removed. This is just one of approximately 100 large components for the magnet feeder system, adding up to 1,600 tonnes of equipment in all and measuring from 100 to 160 ft. (30 to 50 m.) in length.

Among other components to be delivered was the 18 m., or 60 ft. (18 m.), tall 1000-tonne “Central Solenoid,” the superconducting electromagnet that stands along the central axis of the tokamak, sometimes referred to as “the beating heart of ITER,” under manufacture by General Atomics in Poway, California, near San Diego.

This 1,000-metric-ton solenoid will have 5.5 gigajoules of stored energy to enable 100-million-degree-Celsius plasmas within carefully defined magnetic fields. In some locations, there will be only 10 mm of space—the width of a thick pencil—between the massive central solenoid and a 45 foot (13 m.) tall “D”-shaped toroidal field magnet.

Despite the delay caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, the project began its five-year assembly phase in July 2020, launched by the French president, Emmanuel Macron alongside senior figures from ITER members, the EU, UK, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US. In February 2021, after enduring a battery of rigorous tests, the first of seven 45,000 amp superconducting magnet modules was given the green light. Built at General Dynamics of San Diego, it is now en route for ITER’s central solenoid.
Trials were due to begin in 2021 and if successful, regular power supply will be in 2025. (

Meanwhile, by November 2019, following delivery of the coil system, the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) under the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) completed the construction of HL-2M, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) at a research centre in Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan province.
人造太阳 (Rénzào tàiyáng = artificial sun), expected to generate plasmas hotter than 200 million°C should also be operational in 2020. (

On November 24th 2020, The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device also known as the Korean artificial sun, set the new world record as it succeeded in maintaining the high temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees Celsius (retention time: about 1.5 seconds) the same temperature as the core of the Sun—its hottest part. In a continuing research program with the Seoul National University (SNU) and Columbia University of the United States, KSTAR aims to continuously operate high-temperature plasma over the 100-million-degree for 300 seconds by 2025.

Discover Solution 278: Orange juice bar – circular economy

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Energy Planet Care

270: Nature Urbaine


Fruit and veg on average travel by refrigerated air and land transport between 2,400 and 4,800 kilometres from farm to market. The global transportation force is the largest of humanity’s carbon-emitting activities, and reducing the number of flights and truckloads of produce is a great place to start cutting the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere.


In 2016, Pascal Hardy, an engineer in agro-development had the intuition that growing towers could be used to set large farms on the rooftops of cities and created Agripolis Organics in Paris.

He started with the roof of Hall 6 at the six-storey Paris Exhibition Centre in the in the 15th arrondissement of the capital, designing the largest urban rooftop farm in the world, covering 3.4 acres, about the size of two soccer pitches. aeroponic or vertical growing techniques would be used to create fruits and vegetables without the use of pesticides, refrigerated trucks, chemical fertilizer, or even soil.

By 2019, “Nature Urbaine” (French for Urban Nature) was supplying produce to local residents, including nearby hotels, catering halls, and more. For a price of 15 euro, residents can order a basket of produce online containing a large bouquet of mint or sage, a head of lettuce, various young sprouts, two bunches of radishes and one of chard, as well as a jar of jam or puree. Also available are 150 baskets of strawberries, as well as aubergines, tomatoes, and more.

Accompanying the urban farm will be a new rooftop restaurant run by area group “Le Perchoir”.

When the Nature Urbaine is finished, twenty gardeners will tend 30 different kinds of plants and harvest up to 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg) of perhaps 35 different kinds of fruits and vegetables every day.

Pascal Hardy is now planning similar projects in the suburbs of Paris and abroad.

Discover Solution 271: OEOO (One Earth – One Ocean)

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Materials Energy

267: Zinc Battery


Rechargeable batteries have been used to power various electric devices and store energy from renewables, but their toxic components (namely, electrode materials, electrolyte, and separator) generally cause serious environment issues when disused. Such toxicity characteristic makes them difficult to power future wearable electronic devices.


Zinc battery.

Zinc-chloride cells (usually marketed as “heavy duty” batteries) use a paste primarily composed of zinc chloride, which gives a longer life and steadier voltage output compared with ammonium chloride electrolyte

An environmentally friendly and highly safe rechargeable battery, based on a pyrene‐4,5,9,10‐tetraone (PTO) cathode and zinc anode in mild aqueous electrolyte has been developed by a team of researchers at Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Their PTO//Zn full cell exhibits a high energy density (186.7 Wh kg−1), supercapacitor‐like power behaviour and long‐term lifespan (over 1000 cycles). Moreover, a belt‐shaped PTO//Zn battery with robust mechanical durability and remarkable flexibility is first fabricated to clarify its potential application in wearable electronic devices.

In a collaboration between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, USA and the MEET Battery Research Center of University of Münster and Helmholtz Institute Münster, Germany, 12 scientists have developed a new type of dual-ion battery.

The cell chemistry graphite zinc metal with an aqueous electrolyte is safer, cheaper and more sustainable than proven energy storage systems and showed a promising electrochemical performance.

The cathode of the energy storage device can consist of graphitic carbons, which can be produced from renewable raw materials. In addition, water and biological binders, such as those found in yoghurt, can be used in electrode production. Further, the zinc metal-based anode offers a better material availability

For the charging and discharging mechanism: instead of only one type of ion – lithium ions – the electrolyte anions are also involved in energy storage in the dual-ion battery. The electrolyte thus functions as an active material, which offers researchers further optimisation approaches. It also comes with an inherently lower risk of fire.

Discover Solution 268: Tree-planting drones

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265: Reverse fuel cell


A University of Toronto engineering team, headed by Professor Ted Sargent, announced the development of an electrolyzer that can make valuable chemicals from captured CO₂ and clean electricity at 10 times the speed of existing electrolyzers.

The device is similar to a fuel cell except running in reverse. In a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen combine on the surface of a catalyst, releasing electrons. In the electrolyzer, the electricity drives the reaction, transforming the hydrogen ions in water and CO₂ into another carbon-based molecule like ethylene.

The U of T research team’ electrolyzer design speeds up the process by pairing a copper-based catalyst composed of small particles embedded in a layer of Nafion, an ion-conducing polymer commonly used in fuel cells.

In their experiments, they proposed that a certain arrangement of Nafion can facilitate the transport of gases such as CO₂. The next step will be to boost the catalyst’s durability so it lasts for thousands of hours rather than its current 10 hour lifespan. In addition, team members will also work on optimizing the system to product other carbon-based products like ethanol.

Discover Solution 266: SCoPEx

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263: Oceanic thermal energy collectors (OTECS)


The oceans cover a little more than 70 % of the Earth’s surface: this makes them the world’s largest solar energy collector and energy storage system. On an average day, 23 million mi.² (60 million km²) of tropical seas absorb an amount of solar radiation equal in heat content to about 250 billion barrels of oil.

If less than one-tenth of one % of this stored solar energy could be converted into electric power, it would supply more than 20 times the total amount of electricity consumed in the United States on any given day.


OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) is a form of Solar Thermal Energy technology that essentially uses the ocean as a solar collector. OTEC takes advantage of the small temperature differential that exists between the warm surface of the sea and the cooler water at the bottom.

In deep waters in excess of 3280 ft (1000 m) this difference is as much as 20°C. In 1881, Jacques Arsene d’Arsonval, a French physicist, proposed tapping the thermal energy of the ocean.

D’Arsonval’s student, Georges Claude, built the first OTEC plant, in Matanzas, Cuba in 1930. The system generated 22 kW of electricity with a low-pressure turbine. The plant was later destroyed in a storm.

His idea called for a closed-cycle system.Thanks too recent technological advances in heat exchangers, D’Arsonval’s concept was demonstrated in 1979, when a small plant mounted on a barge off Hawaii (Mini-OTEC) produced 50 kW of gross power, with a net output of 18 kW. Subsequently, a 100 kW gross power, land-based plant was operated in the island nation of Nauru by a consortium of Japanese companies.

The economics of energy production today have delayed the financing of a permanent, continuously operating OTEC plant. However, OTEC is very promising as an alternative energy resource for tropical island communities that rely heavily on imported fuel.

OTEC plants in these markets could provide islanders with much-needed power, as well as desalinated water and a variety of mariculture products. One of the disadvantages of land-based OTEC plants is the need for a 1.86 mi (3 km.) long cold water pipe to transport the large volumes of deep seawater required from a depth of about 3,280 ft. (1,000 m).

Currently the world’s only operating OTEC plant is in Japan, overseen by Saga University. Japan is a major contributor to the development of OTEC technology. Beginning in 1970 the Tokyo Electric Power Company successfully built and deployed a 100 kW closed-cycle OTEC plant on the island of Nauru.

The plant became operational on October 14, 1981, producing about 120 kW of electricity; 90 kW was used to power the plant and the remaining electricity was used to power a school and other places. This set a world record for power output from an OTEC system where the power was sent to a real (as opposed to an experimental) power grid. (

1981 also saw a major development in OTEC technology when Russian engineer, Dr. Alexander Kalina, used a mixture of ammonia and water to produce electricity. This new ammonia-water mixture greatly improved the efficiency of the power cycle.

In 1994 Saga University designed and constructed a 4.5 kW plant for the purpose of testing a newly invented Uehara cycle, also named after its inventor Haruo Uehara. This cycle included absorption and extraction processes that allow this system to outperform the Kalina cycle by 1-2 %.

Currently, the Institute of Ocean Energy, Saga University, is the leader in OTEC power plant research and also focuses on many of the technology’s secondary benefits. The laboratory located at lmari bay area, some 50km to the north from the administrative office in Saga City, functions as our study center of fundamental and practical aspects of OTEC technology.

The Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation with offices in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Hawaii, The Bahamas, and Cayman Islands been preparing clean hydrothermal energy plants worldwide using the proven technologies of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC).

Since 1988, OTE has established a noteworthy pipeline of projects with a signed energy services agreement (ESA), four signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) and proposals to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and United States Department of Defense (USDoD).

In 2017, new Rankine power cycle utilising a combination of ocean thermal energy and geothermal waste energy, called a GeOTEC (Geo-Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) power cycle/plant. The potential geothermal waste heat, which exists in the form of raw hot natural gas would be continuously pumped from a shallow water Malaysia-Thailand Joint Authority (MTJA) gas production platform, and the supply data is estimated based on the output of the platform.

A thermodynamic model derived from an energy balance calculation is used to simulate the proposed GeOTEC cycle with Matlab. With higher superheated ammonia temperature, GeOTEC power plant efficiency increases, while the net power output decreases. A maximum net power produced by the proposed GeOTEC is 32.593 MW.

Discover Solution 264: Palm Oil synthetic

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260: Saltwater lamp


The Philippines ranked third as the most disaster prone country in the whole world. And in disaster situations such as super typhoons, earthquakes, a steady supply of food, drinking water and a sustainable light source is very essential.


After living with the natives of the Butbut tribe for days relying only on dangerous kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores, Aisa Mijeno, both a faculty member of Engineering at De La Salle University in Lipa and a member of Greenpeace Philippines, together with her brother Raphael, invented the Sustainable Alterative Lighting (SALt) lamp.

The SALt LED lamp which can be powered by saltwater through metal-air technology is an alternative environment-friendly light source suitable for off-grid in areas near the sea. It uses the science behind the galvanic cell, the basis for battery-making, changing the electrolytes to a non-toxic, saline solution, making the entire process safe and harmless.

The consumables of this lamp only need to be replaced every 6 months. The SALt lamp operates 8 hours a day every day, with proper maintenance, with an anode lifespan of 6 months. For emergencies, the user can charge their smartphone using this lamp, simply by plugging in the USB cable.

In 2017, the SALt lamp went into production It won the Good Design Award 2018 presented by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, a Japanese comprehensive design evaluation and commendation system. The Mijenos found two partners; one of them is a semi-conductor company located at Laguna Technopark; the other one is San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation.

They are the ones helping SALt with all of their packaging needs: the box it comes in, the plastic, and even the design of the package. Their short-term goal is deploying the first 45,000 units to and beyond the Philippines.

An alternative, the Aria Natural Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp from Levoite was displayed during the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What you can do: Seek out and acquire a crystal salt lamp such as SALt

Discover Solution 261: Wave Killer

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Materials Energy

258: Plaxx plastic-recycled oil


Incineration of plastic waste is not energy efficient.


Since 2011, Adrian Griffiths of Recycling Technologies, Swindon, United Kingdom has been perfecting a machine to break down MPW (mixed plastic waste), a variety of plastic products including cling wrap and electronics, and turn them into Plaxx™, a valuable hydrocarbon product usable materials or energy-producing oil.

The RT7000, a thermal cracker, heats up the waste to 500° C, melting the debris into a vapor. It is then cooled to create one of three different materials: a fuel that can be sold to petrochemical companies, a wax-such as substance that is similar to what ship engines burn or a brown wax that can be used for shoe polish or cosmetics.

Using Plaxx® as feedstock for new polymers allows plastics circularity. In 2019 Tesco, the UK’s leading retailer began to trial RT7000 units in ten of its stores. Modular, they can be moved around.

From 2020, international energy company Total, Recycling Technologies, and global brands Nestlé and Mars joined forces to develop an “innovative” industrial chemical recycling industry in France. Recycling Technologies, with a production capacity of 200 unts per year, plans to install 1,700 units and reach 7 million tpy capacity by 2027.

In January 2020, Nestlé announced that it would cut costs in other parts of its business to buy 2 million tonnes of recycled plastic between now and 2025. This should enable the food giant to meet its goal of reducing its use of virgin plastics by a third.

Discover Solution 259: Zero emission racing yacht

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256: Natrium Reactor


In August 2020, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates presented his detailed take on how to “address climate change”. One solution is a small yet advanced nuclear power station that will have the ability to store electricity to supplement grids increasingly supplied by the intermittent sources like solar and wind energy.

Gates’s company TerraPower of Bellevue, Washington , is collaborating with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in Wilmington, North Carolina, to build the Natrium, a 345MWe cost-competitive sodium fast reactor (SFR) combined with a molten salt energy storage system. Sodium’s chemical element symbol is Na (from Latin “natrium”).

Building on the technology used in solar thermal generation, Natrium energy storage and flexible power production will offer abundant clean energy in time to help meet climate goals. SFRs have the potential to become an attractive energy source for countries interested in managing their nuclear supply and nuclear waste.

The Natrium technology’s novel architecture simplifies previous reactor types. Non-nuclear mechanical, electrical and other equipment will be housed in separate structures, reducing complexity and cost. The design is intended to permit significant cost savings by allowing major portions of the plant to be built to industrial standards. Improvements use fewer equipment interfaces and reduce the amount of nuclear-grade concrete by 80% compared to large reactors.

Natrium reactors are designed to provide firm, flexible power that seamlessly integrates into power grids with high penetrations of renewables. For instance, its innovative thermal storage has the potential to boost the system’s output to 500MWe of power for more than five and a half hours when needed. This allows for a nuclear design that follows daily electric load changes and helps customers capitalize on peaking opportunities driven by renewable energy fluctuations.

According to TerraPower, Natrium technology will be available in the late 2020s, making it one of the first commercial advanced nuclear technologies.”

The development of the Natrium system demonstrates the benefits of modern virtual design and construction tools and has attracted the attention of numerous utilities through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Energy Northwest and Duke Energy have expressed their support for the commercialization effort, which will provide energy and energy storage to the electrical grid.

Discover Solution 257: Oceanix floating cities at sea.

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