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Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank wants 210,000 mini-grids this decade

The international development entity has already invested $1 billion in local, off-grid electricity networks over the last decade – and attracted a further $1.1 billion in matched funding – and wants to set up mini-grids to supply electricity to 490 million people by 2030.

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Sunday read: Liquid light

Once thought of in a niche sense, the solar-water nexus is a rapidly expanding network of applications. They include practical tools capable of solving persistent issues like water scarcity, as well as newly pressing issues like overcoming the water challenge of green hydrogen production. Blake Matich looks at such applications here in Australia and abroad.

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Singaporean FPV firm targets offshore expansion plans

Floating PV is a growing niche in the solar sector, but its offshore segment has proven more difficult to activate, largely because of the difficulty of open-water energy generation. Nevertheless, the potential of offshore floating PV is almost unlimited, and one Singaporean firm, G8 Subsea, is looking to leave the safety of harbours and reservoirs.

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Gravity-based storage for distributed solar

An international research team has designed a residential solar-plus-storage system based on gravity. The system was built with a solar power generator, a bulk booster charge controller, an inverter, a solenoid device, a deep cycle battery, a pulley block, a geared motor, a microcontroller, and wire ropes. Its creators said the system is ideal for regions with high solar radiation. They found that, due to its high electrical requirements, the system needs to rely on high-power solar modules with an output of over 500 W.

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Sunday read: the ‘other side’ of batteries

Graphite’s pivotal role in electric-vehicle battery technology is coming under increasing scrutiny. Graphite is almost exclusively produced in China, and while the processing of the mineral poses serious environmental issues, the alternatives appear costly. Ian Morse looks at what’s next for critical graphite supplies.

Green hydrogen supply chain concerns

With South Africa holding 63,000 of the world’s estimated 69,000 metric tons of platinum reserves – according to the Statista.com website – and Russia and Zimbabwe a further 5,100 between them, the European Commission has cited the metal as an example of a potential supply chain bottleneck that could handicap its grand plans for renewables-powered hydrogen production.

We need an energy access revolution: A new approach to innovation can help

840 million people still don’t have access to electricity today, according to the World Bank. But the radical decrease in the cost of the green technologies of solar and battery storage provides an unparalleled opportunity to close this gap and achieve universal electricity access by 2030.

Ugandan youth activist stuns Berlin energy transition event

Vanessa Nakate shocked organisers of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue by delivering a speech highlighting how she and a fellow youth activist had to submit their presentations for approval in advance of the event and were banned from criticising any of the politicians involved.

Solar-powered cooling system for crop storage

South African scientists have used a PV system to keep tomatoes in cold storage. They linked an air-cooling system and evaporative cooling tech to a 3.5 kW array and 12 batteries and tested it for 28 days in September.

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Redflow batteries to add VPP capabilities

Brisbane-based battery supplier Redflow has joined forces with smart energy system company carbonTRACK to add virtual power plant functionality to its flow batteries.

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