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Lead-acid battery

A sealed lead-acid battery.

Main article: Lead-acid battery

The lead-acid battery used in automobiles, consists of a series of six identical cells assembled in series.
Each cell has a lead anode and a cathode made from lead dioxide packed in a metal plaque. Cathode
and anode are submerged in a solution of sulfuric acid acting as the electrolyte.
Lead-acid battery half cell reactions are shown below:
2– –
Anode: Pb(s) + SO4 (aq) → PbSO4(s) + 2 e
+ 2– –
Cathode: PbO2(s) + 4 H (aq) + SO4 (aq) + 2 e → PbSO4(s) + 2 H2O(l)
+ 2–
Overall reaction: Pb(s) + PbO2(s) + 4 H (aq) + 2 SO4 (aq) → 2 PbSO4(s) + 2 H2O(l)

At standard conditions, each cell may produce a potential of 2 V, hence overall voltage
produced is 12 V. Differing from mercury and zinc-carbon batteries, lead-acid batteries
are rechargeable. If an external voltage is supplied to the battery it will produce
an electrolysis of the products in the overall reaction (discharge), thus recovering initial
components which made the battery work.

Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application
of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the
late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical power supply. It
now covers a range of subtopics including power, electronics, control systems, signal
processing and telecommunications.
Electrical engineering may include electronic engineering. Where a distinction is made, usually outside of
the United States, electrical engineering is considered to deal with the problems associated with large-
scale electrical systems such as power transmission and motor control, whereas electronic engineering
deals with the study of small-scale electronic systems including computers and integrated
circuits. Alternatively, electrical engineers are usually concerned with using electricity to transmit energy,
while electronic engineers are concerned with using electricity to process information. More recently, the
distinction has become blurred by the growth of power electronics.

Main article: History of electrical engineering

The discoveries ofMichael Faraday formed the foundation of electric motor technology.

Electricity has been a subject of scientific interest since at least the early 17th century. The first electrical
engineer was probably William Gilbert who designed theversorium: a device that detected the presence
of statically charged objects. He was also the first to draw a clear distinction between magnetism and
static electricity and is credited with establishing the term electricity. In 1775 Alessandro Volta's
scientific experimentations devised the electrophorus, a device that produced a static electric charge, and
by 1800 Volta developed the voltaic pile, a forerunner of the electric battery.

However, it was not until the 19th century that research into the subject started to intensify. Notable
developments in this century include the work of Georg Ohm, who in 1827 quantified the relationship
between the electric current and potential difference in a conductor, Michael Faraday, the discoverer
of electromagnetic induction in 1831, and James Clerk Maxwell, who in 1873 published a unified theory of
electricity and magnetism in his treatise Electricity and Magnetism.

Thomas Edison built the world's first large-scale electrical supply network.

During these years, the study of electricity was largely considered to be a subfield of physics. It was not
until the late 19th century thatuniversities started to offer degrees in electrical engineering. The Darmstadt
University of Technology founded the first chair and the first faculty of electrical engineering worldwide in
1882. In the same year, under Professor Charles Cross, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology began offering the first option of Electrical Engineering within a physics department. In
1883 Darmstadt University of Technology and Cornell University introduced the world's first courses of
study in electrical engineering, and in 1885 the University College London founded the first chair of
electrical engineering in the United Kingdom. The University of Missouri subsequently established the
first department of electrical engineering in the United States in 1886.

Nikola Tesla made long-distance electrical transmission networks possible.

During this period, the work concerning electrical engineering increased dramatically. In
1882, Edison switched on the world's first large-scale electrical supply network that provided 110
volts direct current to fifty-nine customers in lower Manhattan. In 1884 Sir Charles Parsons invented
the steam turbine which today generates about 80 percent of the electric power in the world using a
variety of heat sources. In 1887, Nikola Tesla filed a number of patents related to a competing form of
power distribution known as alternating current. In the following years a bitter rivalry between Tesla and
Edison, known as the "War of Currents", took place over the preferred method of distribution. AC
eventually replaced DC for generation and power distribution, enormously extending the range and
improving the safety and efficiency of power distribution.

The efforts of the two did much to further electrical engineering—Tesla's work on induction
motors and polyphase systems influenced the field for years to come, while Edison's work on telegraphy
and his development of the stock ticker proved lucrative for his company, which ultimately
became General Electric. However, by the end of the 19th century, other key figures in the progress of
electrical engineering were beginning to emerge.

Modern developments
During the development of radio, many scientists and inventors contributed to radio technology and
electronics. In his classic UHF experiments of 1888, Heinrich Hertztransmitted (via a spark-gap
transmitter) and detected radio waves using electrical equipment. In 1895, Nikola Tesla was able to
detect signals from the transmissions of his New York lab at West Point (a distance of 80.4 km / 49.95
miles). In 1897, Karl Ferdinand Braun introduced the cathode ray tube as part of an oscilloscope, a
crucial enabling technology for electronic television. John Fleming invented the first radio tube,
the diode, in 1904. Two years later, Robert von Lieben and Lee De Forest independently developed the
amplifier tube, called the triode. In 1895, Guglielmo Marconi furthered the art of hertzian wireless
methods. Early on, he sent wireless signals over a distance of one and a half miles. In December 1901,
he sent wireless waves that were not affected by the curvature of the Earth. Marconi later transmitted the
wireless signals across the Atlantic between Poldhu, Cornwall, and St. John's, Newfoundland, a distance
of 2,100 miles (3,400 km). In 1920 Albert Hull developed the magnetron which would eventually lead to
the development of the microwave oven in 1946 by Percy Spencer. In 1934 the British military began
to make strides toward radar (which also uses the magnetron) under the direction of Dr Wimperis,
culminating in the operation of the first radar station at Bawdsey in August 1936.
In 1941 Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world's first fully functional and programmable computer. In
1946 the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) of John Presper Eckert andJohn
Mauchly followed, beginning the computing era. The arithmetic performance of these machines allowed
engineers to develop completely new technologies and achieve new objectives, including theApollo
missions and the NASA moon landing.

The invention of the transistor in 1947 by William B. Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain opened
the door for more compact devices and led to the development of the integrated circuit in 1958 by Jack
Kilby and independently in 1959 by Robert Noyce. Starting in 1968, Ted Hoff and a team
at Intel invented the first commercial microprocessor, which presaged the personal computer. TheIntel
4004 was a 4-bit processor released in 1971, but in 1973 the Intel 8080, an 8-bit processor, made the first
personal computer, the Altair 8800, possible.

An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric
motors for propulsion. Electric vehicles include electric cars, electric trains, electric lorries, electric
aeroplanes, electric boats, electric motorcycles and scooters and electric spacecraft.

Electric vehicles first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the
preferred methods for motor vehicle propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that
could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. The internal combustion engine (ICE) is the
dominant propulsion method formotor vehicles but electric power has remained commonplace in other
vehicle types, such as trains and smaller vehicles of all types.

During the last few decades, increased concern over the environmental impact of the petroleum-based
transportation infrastructure, along with the peak oil, has led to renewed interest in an electric
transportation infrastructure. Electric vehicles differ from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that the
electricity they consume can be generated from a wide range of sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear
power, and renewable sources such as tidal power, solar power, and wind power or any combination of
those. However it is generated, this energy is then transmitted to the vehicle through use of overhead
lines, wireless energy transfer such as inductive charging, or a direct connection through an electrical
cable. The electricity may then be stored onboard the vehicle using a battery, flywheel,
or supercapacitors. Vehicles making use of engines working on the principle of combustion can usually
only derive their energy from a single or a few sources, usually non-renewable fossil fuels. A key
advantage of electric or hybrid electric vehicles is regenerative braking and suspension; their ability to
recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity to be restored to the on-board battery.

In 2003, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, the Toyota Prius, was introduced worldwide,
in the same year GoinGreen in London launched the G-Wiz electric car, a quadricycle that became the
world's best selling EV, and the first battery electric car produced by a major auto company, the Nissan
Leaf debuted in December 2010. Other major auto companies have electric cars in development, and
various nations around the world are building pilot networks of charging stations to recharge them.

Main article: History of the electric vehicle

Electric vehicle model by Ányos Jedlik, an early electric motor experimenter ( 1828, Hungary) .

Edison and a 1914 Detroit Electric, model 47 (courtesy of the National Museum of American History)
An electric vehicle and an antique car on display at a 1912 auto show

Electric motive power started with a small drifter operated by a miniature electric motor, built by Thomas
Davenport in 1835. In 1838, a Scotsman namedRobert Davidson built an electric locomotive that attained
a speed of four miles per hour (6 km/h). In England a patent was granted in 1840 for the use of rails as
conductors of electric current, and similar American patents were issued to Lilley and Colten in 1847.

Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first
crude electric carriage, powered by non-rechargeableprimary cells.

By the 20th century, electric cars and rail transport were commonplace, with commercial electric
automobiles having the majority of the market. Over time their general-purpose commercial use reduced
to specialist roles, as platform trucks, forklift trucks, tow tractors and urban delivery vehicles, such as the
iconic British milk float; for most of the 20th century, the UK was the world's largest user of electric road

Electrified trains were used for coal transport, as the motors did not use precious oxygen in the mines.
Switzerland's lack of natural fossil resources forced the rapid electrification of their rail network. One of
the earliest rechargeable batteries - the nickel-iron battery - was favored by Edison for use in electric cars.

Electric vehicles were among the earliest automobiles, and before the preeminence of light,
powerful internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many vehicle land speed and distance
records in the early 1900s. They were produced by Baker Electric, Columbia Electric, Detroit Electric, and
others, and at one point in history out-sold gasoline-powered vehicles.

In the 1930s, National City Lines, which was a partnership of General Motors, Firestone, and Standard Oil
of California purchased many electric tramnetworks across the country to dismantle them and replace
them with GM buses. The partnership was convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of equipment
and supplies to their subsidiary companies conspiracy, but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the
provision of transportation services. Electric tram line technologies could be used to
recharge BEVs and PHEVs on the highway while the user drives, providing virtually unrestricted driving
range. The technology is old and well established (see : Conduit current collection, Nickel-iron battery).
The infrastructure has not been built.

In January 1990, General Motors' President introduced its EV concept two-seater, the "Impact", at the Los
Angeles Auto Show. That September, the California Air Resources Board mandated major-automaker
sales of EVs, in phases starting in 1998. From 1996 to 1998 GM produced 1117 EV1s, 800 of which were
made available through three-year leases.

Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota also produced limited numbers of EVs for California
drivers. In 2003, upon the expiration of GM's EV1 leases, GM crushed them. The crushing has variously
been attributed to 1) the auto industry's successful federal court challenge to California's zero-emissions
vehicle mandate, 2) a federal regulation requiring GM to produce and maintain spare parts for the few
thousands EV1s and 3) the success of the oil and auto industries' media campaign to reduce public
acceptance of electric vehicles.


A movie made on the subject in 2005-2006 was titled Who Killed the Electric Car? and released
theatrically bySony Pictures Classics in 2006. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, oil
industry, the U.S. government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers, and each of their roles in
limiting the deployment and adoption of this technology.

Honda, Nissan and Toyota also repossessed and crushed most of their EVs, which, like the GM EV1s,
had been available only by closed-end lease. After public protests, Toyota sold 200 of its RAV EVs to
eager buyers; they now sell, five years later, at over their original forty-thousand-dollar price.

The production of the Citroën Berlingo Electrique stopped in September 2005.

With increasing prices of gasoline, electric vehicles are hitting the mainstream.

Major car makers, such as Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp., Renault SA, Peugeot-
Citroen, VW, Nissan and Mitsubishi Corp., are developing new-generation electric vehicles.
[edit]Electricity sources

A passenger railroad, taking power through a third rail with return through the traction rails

An electric Locomotive at Brig

(See articles on diesel-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid locomotion for information on electric vehicles
using also combustion engines).

There are many ways to generate electricity, some of them more ecological than others:

 on-board rechargeable electricity storage system (RESS), called Full Electric Vehicles (FEV). Power
storage methods include:
 chemical energy stored on the vehicle in on-board batteries: Battery electric vehicle (BEV)
 static energy stored on the vehicle in on-board electric double-layer capacitors
 kinetic energy storage: flywheels
 direct connection to generation plants as is common among electric trains, trolley buses, and trolley
trucks (See also : overhead lines, third rail andconduit current collection)
 renewable sources such as solar power: solar vehicle
 generated on-board using a diesel engine: diesel-electric locomotive
 generated on-board using a fuel cell: fuel cell vehicle
 generated on-board using nuclear energy: nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers

It is also possible to have hybrid electric vehicles that derive electricity from multiple sources. Such as:

 on-board rechargeable electricity storage system (RESS) and a direct continuous connection to land-
based generation plants for purposes of on-highway recharging with unrestricted highway range
 on-board rechargeable electricity storage system and a fueled propulsion power source (internal
combustion engine): plug-in hybrid

Batteries, electric double-layer capacitors and flywheel energy storage are forms of rechargeable on-
board electrical storage. By avoiding an intermediate mechanical step, the energy conversion
efficiency can be improved over the hybrids already discussed, by avoiding unnecessary energy
conversions. Furthermore, electro-chemical batteries conversions are easy to reverse, allowing electrical
energy to be stored in chemical form.

Another form of chemical to electrical conversion is fuel cells, projected for future use.

For especially large electric vehicles, such as submarines, the chemical energy of the diesel-electric can
be replaced by a nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor usually provides heat, which drives a steam turbine,
which drives a generator, which is then fed to the propulsion. See Nuclear Power

A few experimental vehicles, such as some cars and a handful of aircraft use solar panels for electricity.

[edit]Electric motor
Main articles: Traction motor and Energy conversion efficiency

The power of a vehicle electric motor, as in other vehicles, is measured in kilowatts (kW). 100 kW is
roughly equivalent to 134 horsepower, although most electric motors deliver full torque over a wide RPM
range, so the performance is not equivalent, and far exceeds a 134 horsepower (100 kW) fuel-powered
[citation needed]
motor, which has a limited torque curve.

Usually, direct current (DC) electricity is fed into a DC/AC inverter where it is converted to alternating
current (AC) electricity and this AC electricity is connected to a 3-phase AC motor. For electric trains, DC
motors are often used.

[edit]Vehicle types
It is generally possible to equip any kind of vehicle with an electric powertrain.

[edit]Hybrid electric vehicle

Main article: Hybrid electric vehicle
A hybrid electric vehicle combines a conventional (usually fossil fuel-powered) powertrain with some form
of electric propulsion. Common examples include hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius.

[edit]On- and off-road electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are on the road in many functions, including electric cars, electric trolleybuses, electric
bicycles, electric motorcycles and scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles, golf carts, milk floats,
and forklifts. Off-road vehicles include electrified all-terrain vehicles and tractors.

[edit]Railborne electric vehicles

Main article: Railway electrification system

A streetcar (or Tram) drawing current from a single overhead wire through a pantograph

The fixed nature of a rail line makes it relatively easy to power electric vehicles through
permanent overhead lines or electrified third rails, eliminating the need for heavy onboard
batteries. Electric locomotives, electric trams/streetcars/trolleys, electric light rail systems, and
electric rapid transit are all in common use today, especially in Europe and Asia.

Since electric trains do not need to carry a heavy internal combustion engine or large batteries, they can
have very good power-to-weight ratios. This allows high speed trains such as France's double-
deck TGVs to operate at speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) or higher, and electric locomotives to have a
much higher power output than diesel locomotives. In addition they have higher short-term surge
power for fast acceleration, and using regenerative braking can put braking power back into the electrical
grid rather than wasting it.

Maglev trains are also nearly always electric vehicles.

[edit]Airborne electric vehicles

Since the beginning of the era of aviation, electric power for aircraft has received a great deal of
experimentation. Currently flying electric aircraft include manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.

[edit]Seaborne electric vehicles

See also: Submarine#Propulsion, Ship#Propulsion_systems, electric boat, Better Place, and Plug-in
hybrid vehicle

Electric boats were popular around the turn of the 20th century. Interest in quiet and potentially renewable
marine transportation has steadily increased since the late 20th century, as solar cells have
given motorboats the infinite range of sailboats. Submarines use batteries (charged by diesel or gasoline
engines at the surface), nuclear power, or fuel cells to run electric motor driven propellers.

[edit]Spaceborne electric vehicles

Main article: Electrically powered spacecraft propulsion

Electric power has a long history of use in spacecraft. The power sources used for spacecraft are
batteries, solar panels and nuclear power. Current methods of propelling a spacecraft with electricity
include the arcjet rocket, the electrostatic ion thruster, the Hall effect thruster, and Field Emission Electric
Propulsion. A number of other methods have been proposed, with varying levels of feasibility.

[edit]Energy and motors

A trolleybus uses two overhead wires to provide electric current supply and return to the power source

An electric bus at Lucerne

Most large electric transport systems are powered by stationary sources of electricity that are directly
connected to the vehicles through wires. Electric traction allows the use of regenerative braking, in which
the motors are used as brakes and become generators that transform the motion of, usually, a train into
electrical power that is then fed back into the lines. This system is particularly advantageous in
mountainous operations, as descending vehicles can produce a large portion of the power required for
those ascending. This regenerative system is only viable if the system is large enough to utilise the power
generated by descending vehicles.

In the systems above motion is provided by a rotary electric motor. However, it is possible to "unroll" the
motor to drive directly against a special matched track. These linear motors are used in maglev
trains which float above the rails supported by magnetic levitation. This allows for almost no rolling
resistance of the vehicle and no mechanical wear and tear of the train or track. In addition to the high-
performance control systems needed, switching and curving of the tracks becomes difficult with linear
motors, which to date has restricted their operations to high-speed point to point services.

[edit]Issues regarding electric vehicles

[edit]Energy sources
Although electric vehicles have few direct emissions, all rely on energy created through electricity
generation, and will usually emit pollution and generate waste, unless it is generated by renewable
source power plants. Since electric vehicles use whatever electricity is delivered by their electrical
utility/grid operator, electric vehicles can be made more or less efficient, polluting and expensive to run,
by modifying the electrical generating stations. This would be done by an electrical utility under a
government energy policy, in a timescale negotiated between utilities and government.

Fossil fuel vehicle efficiency and pollution standards take years to filter through a nation's fleet of vehicles.
New efficiency and pollution standards rely on the purchase of new vehicles, often as the current vehicles
already on the road reach their end-of-life. Only a few nations set a retirement age for old vehicles, such
as Japan or Singapore, forcing periodic upgrading of all vehicles already on the road.

Electric vehicles will take advantage of whatever environmental gains happen when a renewable energy
generation station comes online, a fossil-fuel power station is decommissioned or upgraded. Conversely,
if government policy or economic conditions shifts generators back to use more polluting fossil fuels
andinternal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), or more inefficient sources, the reverse can happen.
Even in such a situation, electrical vehicles are still more efficient than a comparable amount of fossil fuel
vehicles. In areas with a deregulated electrical energy market, an electrical vehicle owner can choose
whether to run his electrical vehicle off conventional electrical energy sources, or strictly from renewable
electrical energy sources (presumably at an additional cost), pushing other consumers onto conventional
sources, and switch at any time between the two.
[edit]Issues with batteries
Main article: Electric vehicle battery

Old: Banks of conventional lead-acid car batteries are still commonly used for EV propulsion

75 watt-hour/kilogram lithium ion polymer battery prototypes. Newer Li-poly cells provide up to 130 Wh/kg and last through
thousands of charging cycles.


Because of the different methods of charging possible, the emissions produced have been quantified in
different ways. Plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles also have different consumption characteristics.

[edit]Electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation from high performance electrical motors has been claimed to be associated
with some human ailments, but such claims are largely unsubstantiated except for extremely high
exposures. Electric motors can be shielded within a metallic Faraday cage, but this reduces efficiency
by adding weight to the vehicle, while it is not conclusive that all electromagnetic radiation can be

[edit]Grid capacity

If a large proportion of private vehicles were to convert to grid electricity it would increase the demand for
generation and transmission, and consequent emissions. However, overall energy consumption and
emissions would diminish because of the higher efficiency of electric vehicles over the entire cycle. In the
USA it has been estimated there is already nearly sufficient existing power plant and transmission
infrastructure, assuming that most charging would occur overnight, using the most efficient off-peak base
load sources.
[edit]Charging stations
Main article: Charging station

Electric vehicles typically charge from conventional power outlets or dedicated charging stations, a
process that typically takes hours, but can be done overnight and often gives a charge that is sufficient for
normal everyday usage.

However with the widespread implementation of electric vehicle networks within large cities, such as
those provided by POD Point [2] in the UK and Europe, electric vehicle users can plug in their cars whilst
at work and leave them to charge throughout the day, extending the possible range of commutes and
eliminating range anxiety.

One proposed solution for daily recharging is a standardized inductive charging system such as
Evatran's Plugless Power. Benefits are the convenience of with parking over the charge station and
minimized cabling and connection infrastructure.

Another proposed solution for the typically less frequent, long distance travel is "rapid charging", such as
the Aerovironment PosiCharge line (up to 250 kW) and the Norvik MinitCharge line (up to
300 kW). Ecotality is a manufacturer of Charging Stations and has partnered with Nissan on several
installations. Battery replacement is also proposed as an alternative, although no OEM's including
Nissan/Renault have any production vehicle plans. Swapping requires standardization across platforms,
models and manufacturers. Swapping also requires many times more battery packs to be in the system.

One type of battery "replacement" proposed is much simpler: while the latest generation of vanadium
redox battery only has an energy density similar to lead-acid, the charge is stored solely in a vanadium-
based electrolyte, which can be pumped out and replaced with charged fluid. The vanadium battery
system is also a potential candidate for intermediate energy storage in quick charging stations because of
its high power density and extremely good endurance in daily use. System cost however, is still
prohibitive. As vanadium battery systems are estimated to range between $350–$600 per kWh, a battery
that can service one hundred customers in a 24 hour period at 50 kWh per charge would cost $1.8-$3

According to Department of Energy research conducted at Pacific National Laboratory, 84% of existing
vehicles could be switched over to plug-in hybrids without requiring any new grid infrastructure. In terms
of transportation, the net result would be a 27% total reduction in emissions of the greenhouse
gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, a 31% total reduction in nitrogen oxides, a slight
reduction in nitrous oxide emissions, an increase in particulate matter emissions, the same sulfur
dioxide emissions, and the near elimination of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compoundemissions
(a 98% decrease in carbon monoxide and a 93% decrease in volatile organic compounds). The
emissions would be displaced away from street level, where they have "high human-health
[edit]Battery swapping

There is another way to "refuel" electric vehicles. Instead of recharging them from electric socket,
batteries could be mechanically replaced on special stations just in a couple of minutes (battery

Batteries with greatest energy density such as metal-air fuel cells usually cannot be recharged in purely
electric way. Instead some kind of metallurgical process is needed, such as aluminum smelting and

Silicon-air, aluminum-air and other metal-air fuel cells look promising candidates for swap
batteries. Any source of energy, renewable or non-renewable, could be used to remake used metal-
air fuel cells with relatively high efficiency. Investment in infrastructure will be needed. The cost of such
batteries could be an issue, although they could be made with replaceable anodes and electrolyte.

[edit]Other in-development technologies

Main article: Electric double-layer capacitor

Conventional electric double-layer capacitors are being worked to achieve the energy density of lithium
ion batteries, offering almost unlimited lifespans and no environmental issues. High-K electric double-
layer capacitors, such as EEStor's EESU, could improve lithium ion energy density several times over if
they can be produced. Lithium-sulphur batteries offer 250Wh/kg. Sodium-ion batteries promise
400Wh/kg with only minimal expansion/contraction during charge/discharge and a very high surface
area. Researchers from one of the Ukrainian state universities claim that they have manufactured
samples of supercapacitor based on intercalation process with 318 W-h/kg specific energy, which seem
to be at least two times improvement in comparison to typical Li-ion batteries.

The United Nations in Geneva (UNECE) has adopted the first international regulation (Regulation 100) on
safety of both fully electric and hybrid electric cars to ensure that cars with a high voltageelectric power
train, such as hybrid and fully electric vehicles, are as safe as combustion cars. The EU and Japan have
already indicated that they intend to incorporate the new UNECE Regulation in their respective rules on
technical standards for vehicles

[edit]Advantages of electric vehicles


Due to efficiency of electric engines as compared to combustion engines, even when the electricity used
to charge electric vehicles comes from a CO2 emitting source, such as a coal or gas fired powered plant,
the net CO2 production from an electric car is typically one half to one third of that from a comparable
combustion vehicle.

Electric vehicles release almost no air pollutants at the place where they are operated. In addition, it is
generally easier to build pollution control systems into centralised power stations than retrofit enormous
numbers of cars.

Electric vehicles typically have less noise pollution than an internal combustion engine vehicle, whether it
is at rest or in motion. Electric vehicles emit no tailpipe CO2 or pollutants such as NOx,NMHC, CO
and PM at the point of use.

Electric motors don't require oxygen, unlike internal combustion engines; this is useful for submarines.


An Alkè electric city van.

Electric motors are mechanically very simple.

Electric motors often achieve 90% energy conversion efficiency over the full range of speeds and
power output and can be precisely controlled. They can also be combined with regenerative
braking systems that have the ability to convert movement energy back into stored electricity. This can be
used to reduce the wear on brake systems (and consequent brake pad dust) and reduce the total energy
requirement of a trip. Regenerative braking is especially effective for start-and-stop city use.

They can be finely controlled and provide high torque from rest, unlike internal combustion engines, and
do not need multiple gears to match power curves. This removes the need for gearboxes and torque

Electric vehicles provide quiet and smooth operation and consequently have less noise and vibration than
internal combustion engines. While this is a desirable attribute, it has also evoked concern that the
absence of the usual sounds of an approaching vehicle poses a danger to blind, elderly and very young
pedestrians. To mitigate this situation, automakers and individual companies are developing systems that
produce warning sounds when electric vehicles are moving slowly, up to a speed when normal motion
and rotation (road, suspension, electric motor, etc.) noises become audible.

[edit]Energy resilience
Electricity is a form of energy that remains within the country or region where it was produced and can be
multi-sourced. As a result it gives the greatest degree of energy resilience.

[edit]Energy efficiency
Electric vehicle 'tank-to-wheels' efficiency is about a factor of 3 higher than internal combustion engine
vehicles. It does not consume energy when it is not moving, unlike internal combustion engines where
they continue running even during idling. However, looking at the well-to-wheel efficiency of electric
vehicles, their emissions are comparable to an efficient gasoline or diesel in most countries because
electricity generation relies on fossil fuels.

[edit]Cost of recharge
The GM Volt will cost "less than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee" to recharge. The Volt should
cost less than 2 cents per mile to drive on electricity, compared with 12 cents a mile on gasoline at a price
of $3.60 a gallon. This means a trip from Los Angeles to New York would cost $56 on electricity, and
$336 with gasoline. This would be the equivalent to paying 60 cents a gallon of gas.

[edit]Stabilization of the grid

Since electric vehicles can be plugged into the electric grid when not in use, there is a potential for battery
powered vehicles to even out the demand for electricity by feeding electricity into the grid from their
batteries during peak use periods (such as midafternoon air conditioning use) while doing most of their
charging at night, when there is unused generating capacity. This Vehicle to Grid (V2G) connection has
the potential to reduce the need for new power plants.
Furthermore, our current electricity infrastructure may need to cope with increasing shares of variable-
output power sources such as windmills and PV solar panels. This variability could be addressed by
adjusting the speed at which EV batteries are charged, or possibly even discharged.

Some concepts see battery exchanges and battery charging stations, much like gas/petrol stations today.
Clearly these will require enormous storage and charging potentials, which could be manipulated to vary
the rate of charging, and to output power during shortage periods, much as diesel generators are used for
short periods to stabilize some national grids.

[edit]Disadvantages of electric vehicles

[edit]Environmental impact
While electric and hybrid cars have reduced tailpipe carbon emissions, the energy they consume is
produced by means that have environmental impacts. A majority of the electricity produced in the United
States comes from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas). Electric and hybrid cars can help decrease energy
use and pollution and may someday use only renewable resources, but the choice that would have nearly
zero environmental impact today would be a lifestyle change in favor of walking, biking, use of public
transit or telecommuting. Governments may invest in research and development of electric cars with the
intention of reducing the impact on the environment where they could instead develop pedestrian-friendly
communities or electric mass transit.


Many electric designs have limited range, due to the low energy density of batteries compared to the fuel
of internal combustion engined vehicles. Electric vehicles also often have long recharge times compared
to the relatively fast process of refueling a tank. This is further complicated by the current scarcity of
public charging stations. "Range anxiety" is a label for consumer concern about EV range.

[edit]Heating of electric vehicles

In cold climates considerable energy is needed to heat the interior of the vehicle and to defrost the
windows. With internal combustion engines, this heat already exists due to the combustion process
(offsetting the greenhouse gases' external costs) from the waste heat from the engine cooling circuit. If
this is done with battery electric cars, this will require extra energy from the battery or an additional battery
and circuit for accessories. Although some heat could be harvested from the motor(s) and battery, due to
their greater efficiency there is not as much waste heat available as from acombustion engine.

However, when plugged into the grid electric vehicles can be preheated, or cooled, and need little or no
energy from the battery, especially for short trips.

Newer designs are focused on using super-insulated cabins which can heat the car using the body heat
of the passengers. This is not enough, however, in colder climates as a driver delivers only about 100 W
of heating power. A reversible AC-system, cooling the cabin during summer and heating it during winter,
seems to be the most practical and promising way of solving the thermal management of the EV. Ricardo
Arboix introduced (2008) a new concept based on the principle of combining the thermal-management
of the EV-battery with the thermal-management of the cabin using a reversible AC-system. This is done
by adding a third heat-exchanger, thermally connected with the battery-core, to the traditional heat
pump/air conditioning system used in previous EV-models like the GM EV1 and Toyota RAV4 EV. The
concept has proven to bring several benefits, such as prolonging the life-span of the battery as well as
improving the performance and overall energy-efficiency of the EV.

[edit]Electric public transit efficiency

Shifts from private to public transport (train, trolleybus or tram) have the potential for large gains in
efficiency in terms of individual miles per kWh.
Research shows people do prefer trams, because they are quieter and more comfortable and
perceived as having higher status.

Therefore, it may be possible to cut liquid fossil fuel consumption in cities through the use of electric

Trams may be the most energy-efficient form of public transportation, with rubber wheeled vehicles using
2/3 more energy than the equivalent tram, and run on electricity rather than fossil fuels.

In terms of net present value, they are also the cheapest—Blackpool trams are still running after 100-
years, but combustion buses only last about 15-years.
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides,
and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2008, about 19% of global final
energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly
used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity. New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind,
solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 2.7% and are growing very rapidly. The share of
renewables in electricity generation is around 18%, with 15% of global electricity coming from
hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.

Wind power is growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of
[3][4] [5]
158 gigawatts (GW) in 2009, and is widely used in Europe,Asia, and the United States. At the end of
2009, cumulative global photovoltaic (PV) installations surpassed 21 GW and PV power stations are
popular in Germany and Spain. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the
largest of these is the 354 megawatt (MW) SEGSpower plant in the Mojave Desert. The world's
largest geothermal power installation is The Geysers in California, with a rated capacity of 750
MW. Brazilhas one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of ethanol
fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18% of the country's automotive fuel. Ethanol fuel is
also widely available in the USA.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited
to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial inhuman development. Globally, an estimated
3 million households get power from small solar PV systems. Micro-hydro systems configured into village-
scale or county-scale mini-grids serve many areas. More than 30 million rural households get lighting
and cooking from biogas made in household-scale digesters. Biomass cookstoves are used by 160
million households.

Climate change concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, and increasing government support, are
driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. New government
spending, regulation and policies helped the industry weather the global financial crisis better than many
other sectors.


 1 Overview

 2 Mainstream forms of renewable energy

o 2.1 Wind power

o 2.2 Hydropower

o 2.3 Solar energy

o 2.4 Biomass

o 2.5 Biofuel

o 2.6 Geothermal energy

 3 Renewable energy commercialization

o 3.1 Growth of renewables

o 3.2 Economic trends

o 3.3 Wind power market

o 3.4 New generation of solar thermal plants

o 3.5 Photovoltaic market

o 3.6 Use of ethanol for transportation

o 3.7 Geothermal energy commercialization

o 3.8 Wave farms expansion

o 3.9 Developing country markets

o 3.10 Industry and policy trends

 4 New and emerging renewable energy technologies

o 4.1 Cellulosic ethanol

o 4.2 Ocean energy

o 4.3 Enhanced Geothermal Systems

o 4.4 Nanotechnology thin-film solar panels

 5 Renewable energy debate

 6 See also

o 6.1 Lists

o 6.2 Topics

o 6.3 Books

 7 References
 8 Bibliography


2008 worldwide renewable-energy sources. Source: REN21[16]

Renewable energy flows involve natural phenomena such as sunlight, wind, tides, plant growth,
and geothermal heat, as the International Energy Agencyexplains:

Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms,
it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is
electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and
biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.

Renewable energy replaces conventional fuels in four distinct areas: power generation, hot water/ space
heating, transport fuels, and rural (off-grid) energy services:

 Power generation. Renewable energy provides 18 percent of total electricity generation worldwide.
Renewable power generators are spread across many countries, and wind power alone already
provides a significant share of electricity in some areas: for example, 14 percent in the U.S. state of
Iowa, 40 percent in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, and 20 percent in Denmark.
Some countries get most of their power from renewables, including Iceland (100 percent), Brazil (85
percent), Austria (62 percent), New Zealand (65 percent), and Sweden (54 percent).

 Heating. Solar hot water makes an important contribution in many countries, most notably in China,
which now has 70 percent of the global total (180 GWth). Most of these systems are installed on
multi-family apartment buildings and meet a portion of the hot water needs of an estimated 50–60
million households in China. Worldwide, total installed solar water heating systems meet a portion of
the water heating needs of over 70 million households. The use of biomass for heating continues to
grow as well. In Sweden, national use of biomass energy has surpassed that of oil. Direct geothermal
for heating is also growing rapidly.

 Transport fuels. Renewable biofuels have contributed to a significant decline in oil consumption in
the United States since 2006. The 93 billion liters of biofuels produced worldwide in 2009 displaced
the equivalent of an estimated 68 billion liters of gasoline, equal to about 5 percent of world gasoline
[edit]Mainstream forms of renewable energy
[edit]Wind power

The adoption of wind power has been increasing.

See also: Wind power, Wind farm, and Wind power in the United States

Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. Modern wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of
rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.5–3 MW have become the most common for
commercial use; the power output of a turbine is a function of the cube of the wind speed, so as wind
speed increases, power output increases dramatically. Areas where winds are stronger and more
constant, such as offshore and high altitude sites, are preferred locations for wind farms. Typical capacity
factors are 20-40%, with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites.

Globally, the long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times total current global
energy production, or 40 times current electricity demand. This could require wind turbines to be installed
over large areas, particularly in areas of higher wind resources. Offshore resources experience mean
wind speeds of ~90% greater than that of land, so offshore resources could contribute substantially more

Wind power is renewable and produces no greenhouse gases during operation, such as carbon
dioxide and methane, and consumes very little land area.

See also: Hydroelectricity and Hydropower
Grand Coulee Dam is a hydroelectricgravity dam on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington. The dam supplies
four power stations with an installed capacity of 6,809 MW and is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United

Energy in water can be harnessed and used. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, even a
slow flowing stream of water, or moderate seaswell, can yield considerable amounts of energy. There are
many forms of water energy:

 Hydroelectric energy is a term usually reserved for large-scale hydroelectric dams. Examples are
the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and theAkosombo Dam in Ghana.
 Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of
power. They are often used in water rich areas as aremote-area power supply (RAPS). There are
many of these installations around the world, including several delivering around 50 kW in
the Solomon Islands.
 Damless hydro systems derive kinetic energy from rivers and oceans without using a dam.
 Ocean energy describes all the technologies to harness energy from the ocean and the sea. This
includes marine current power, ocean thermal energy conversion, and tidal power.
[edit]Solar energy
See also: Solar energy, Solar power, and Solar thermal energy
Monocrystalline solar cell.

Solar energy is the energy derived from the sun through the form of solar radiation. Solar
powered electrical generation relies on photovoltaics and heat engines. A partial list of other solar
applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, daylighting, solar hot
water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way
they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic
panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a
building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and
designing spaces that naturally circulate air.


Biomass (plant material) is a renewable energy source because the energy it contains comes from the
sun. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants capture the sun's energy. When the plants are
burned, they release the sun's energy they contain. In this way, biomass functions as a sort of natural
battery for storing solar energy. As long as biomass is produced sustainably, with only as much used as
is grown, the battery will last indefinitely.

In general there are two main approaches to using plants for energy production: growing plants
specifically for energy use, and using the residues from plants that are used for other things. The best
approaches vary from region to region according to climate, soils and geography.

Information on pump regarding ethanol fuel blend up to 10%, California.

Liquid biofuel is usually either bioalcohol such as bioethanol or an oil such as biodiesel.

Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials and it is made
mostly from sugar and starch crops. With advanced technology being developed, cellulosic biomass,
such as trees and grasses, are also used as feedstocks for ethanol production. Ethanol can be used as a
fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a gasoline additive to increase octane and
improve vehicle emissions. Bioethanol is widely used in the USA and in Brazil.

Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases. Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for
vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon
monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles. Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats
usingtransesterification and is the most common biofuel in Europe.
Biofuels provided 1.8% of the world's transport fuel in 2008. .

The major advantage of biofuels emerges from their minor impact on the carbon cycle in nature.
While fossil fuels add carbon to the carbon cycle, biofuels recycle the carbon via the path of plants -
biofuel - atmospheric carbon dioxide - plants.

[edit]Geothermal energy
Main articles: Geothermal energy, Geothermal heat pump, and Renewable energy in Iceland
Krafla Geothermal Station in northeast Iceland

Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, both from kilometers deep
into the Earth's crust in volcanically active locations of the globe or from shallow depths, as in geothermal
heat pumps in most locations of the planet. It is expensive to build a power station but operating costs are
low resulting in low energy costs for suitable sites. Ultimately, this energy derives from heat in the Earth's

Three types of power plants are used to generate power from geothermal energy: dry steam, flash, and
binary. Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that
spins a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures over 200 °C, out of the ground,
and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators
and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, the hot water flows through heat exchangers,
boiling an organic fluid that spins the turbine. The condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from
[citation needed]
all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat.

The geothermal energy from the core of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than in others.
Where hot underground steam or water can be tapped and brought to the surface it may be used to
generate electricity. Such geothermal power sources exist in certain geologically unstable parts of the
world such as Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. The two most
prominent areas for this in the United States are in theYellowstone basin and in
northern California. Iceland produced 170 MW geothermal power and heated 86% of all houses in the
[citation needed]
year 2000 through geothermal energy. Some 8000 MW of capacity is operational in total.

There is also the potential to generate geothermal energy from hot dry rocks. Holes at least 3 km deep
are drilled into the earth. Some of these holes pump water into the earth, while other holes pump hot
water out. The heat resource consists of hot underground radiogenic granite rocks, which heat up when
there is enough sediment between the rock and the earths surface. Several companies in Australia are
[citation needed]
exploring this technology.
[edit]Renewable energy commercialization
Main article: Renewable energy commercialization

[edit]Growth of renewables
During the five-years from the end of 2004 through 2009, worldwide renewable energy capacity grew at
rates of 10–60 percent annually for many technologies. For wind power and many other renewable
technologies, growth accelerated in 2009 relative to the previous four years. More wind power capacity
was added during 2009 than any other renewable technology. However, grid-connected PV increased the
fastest of all renewables technologies, with a 60-percent annual average growth rate for the five-year

Selected renewable energy indicators

Selected global indicators 2007 2008 2009

Investment in new renewable capacity (annual) 104 130 150 billion USD

Existing renewables power capacity,

1,070 1,140 1,230 GWe
including large-scale hydro

Existing renewables power capacity,

240 280 305 GWe
excluding large hydro

Wind power capacity (existing) 94 121 159 GWe

Solar PV capacity (grid-connected) 7.6 13.5 21 GWe

Solar hot water capacity 126 149 180 GWth

Ethanol production (annual) 50 69 76 billion liters

Biodiesel production (annual) 10 15 17 billion liters

Countries with policy targets for renewable energy use 68 75 85

Scientists have advanced a plan to power 100% of the world's energy with wind, hydroelectric, and solar
power by the year 2030, recommending renewable energy subsidies and a price on carbon reflecting
its cost for flood and related expenses.

[edit]Economic trends
All forms of energy are expensive, but as time progresses, renewable energy generally gets
cheaper, while fossil fuels generally get more expensive. Al Gore has explained that renewable
energy technologies are declining in price for three main reasons:

First, once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever. Unlike carbon-based fuels, the
wind and the sun and the earth itself provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.

Second, while fossil fuel technologies are more mature, renewable energy technologies are being rapidly
improved. So innovation and ingenuity give us the ability to constantly increase the efficiency of
renewable energy and continually reduce its cost.

Third, once the world makes a clear commitment to shifting toward renewable energy, the volume of
production will itself sharply reduce the cost of each windmill and each solar panel, while adding yet more
incentives for additional research and development to further speed up the innovation process.

[edit]Wind power market

See also: List of onshore wind farms and List of offshore wind farms

Wind power: worldwide installed capacity 1996-2008

Fenton Wind Farm at sunrise

At the end of 2009, worldwide wind farm capacity was 159,213 MW, representing an increase of 31
[3] [37]
percent during the year, and wind power supplied some 1.3% of global electricity consumption. Wind
power accounts for approximately 19% of electricity use in Denmark, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6%
in Germany and the Republic of Ireland.

Top 10 wind power countries

Total capacity Total capacity

end 2009 (MW) June 2010 (MW)

United States 35,159 36,300

China 26,010 33,800

Germany 25,777 26,400

Spain 19,149 19,500

India 10, 925 12,100

Italy 4,850 5,300

France 4,521 5,000

United Kingdom 4,092 4,600

Portugal 3,535 3,800

Denmark 3,497 3,700

Rest of world 21,698 24,500

Total 159,213 175,000

As of November 2010, the Roscoe Wind Farm (781 MW) is the world's largest wind farm. As of
September 2010, the Thanet Offshore Wind Project in United Kingdom is the largest offshore wind farm in
the world at 300 MW, followed by Horns Rev II (209 MW) in Denmark. The United Kingdom is the world's
leading generator of offshore wind power, followed by Denmark.

[edit]New generation of solar thermal plants

Solar Towers from left: PS10, PS20.

Main article: List of solar thermal power stations

See also: Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert

Large solar thermal power stations include the 354 megawatt (MW) Solar Energy Generating
Systems power plant in the USA, Solnova Solar Power Station(Spain, 150 MW), Andasol solar power
station (Spain, 100 MW), Nevada Solar One (USA, 64 MW), PS20 solar power tower (Spain, 20 MW),
and the PS10 solar power tower (Spain, 11 MW).

The solar thermal power industry is growing rapidly with 1.2 GW under construction as of April 2009 and
another 13.9 GW announced globally through 2014. Spain is the epicenter of solar thermal power
development with 22 projects for 1,037 MW under construction, all of which are projected to come online
by the end of 2010. In the United States, 5,600 MW of solar thermal power projects have been
announced. In developing countries, three World Bank projects for integrated solar thermal/combined-
cycle gas-turbine power plants in Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco have been approved.

[edit]Photovoltaic market
Main article: List of photovoltaic power stations

40 MW PV Array installed in Waldpolenz,Germany

Photovoltaic production has been increasing by an average of some 20 percent each year since 2002,
making it a fast-growing energy technology. At the end of 2009, the cumulative global PV installations
surpassed 21,000 megawatts.

As of November 2010, the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the world are the Finsterwalde Solar
Park (Germany, 80.7 MW), Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant (Canada, 80 MW), Olmedilla Photovoltaic
Park (Spain, 60 MW), the Strasskirchen Solar Park (Germany, 54 MW), the Lieberose Photovoltaic
Park (Germany, 53 MW), and the Puertollano Photovoltaic Park (Spain, 50 MW). Many of these plants
are integrated with agriculture and some use innovative tracking systems that follow the sun's daily path
across the sky to generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. There are no fuel
costs or emissions during operation of the power stations.

Topaz Solar Farm is a proposed 550 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built northwest
of California Valley in the USA at a cost of over $1 billion. High Plains Ranch is a proposed 250 MW
solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built on the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley.

However, when it comes to renewable energy systems and PV, it is not just large systems that
matter. Building-integrated photovoltaics or "onsite" PV systems use existing land and structures and
generate power close to where it is consumed.

[edit]Use of ethanol for transportation

E95 trial bus operating in São Paulo,Brazil.

See also: Ethanol fuel and BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport

Since the 1970s, Brazil has had an ethanol fuel program which has allowed the country to become the
world's second largest producer of ethanol (after the United States) and the world's largest
exporter. Brazil’s ethanol fuel program uses modern equipment and cheap sugar cane as feedstock,
and the residual cane-waste (bagasse) is used to process heat and power. There are no longer light
vehicles in Brazil running on pure gasoline. By the end of 2008 there were 35,000 filling stations
throughout Brazil with at least one ethanol pump.
Nearly all the gasoline sold in the United States today is mixed with 10 percent ethanol, a mix known as
E10, and motor vehicle manufacturers already produce vehicles designed to run on much higher
ethanol blends. Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and GM are among the automobile companies that sell ―flexible-
fuel‖ cars, trucks, and minivans that can use gasoline and ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up
to 85% ethanol (E85). By mid-2006, there were approximately six million E85-compatible vehicles on U.S.
roads. The challenge is to expand the market for biofuels beyond the farm states where they have
been most popular to date. Flex-fuel vehicles are assisting in this transition because they allow drivers to
choose different fuels based on price and availability. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which calls for 7.5
billion gallons of biofuels to be used annually by 2012, will also help to expand the market.

[edit]Geothermal energy commercialization

The West Ford Flat power plant is one of 22 power plants at The Geysers.

See also: Geothermal energy in the United States

The International Geothermal Association (IGA) has reported that 10,715 megawatts (MW) of geothermal
power in 24 countries is online, which is expected to generate 67,246 GWh of electricity in 2010. This
represents a 20% increase in geothermal power online capacity since 2005. IGA projects this will grow to
18,500 MW by 2015, due to the large number of projects presently under consideration, often in areas
previously assumed to have little exploitable resource.

In 2010, the United States led the world in geothermal electricity production with 3,086 MW of installed
capacity from 77 power plants; the largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located
at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California. The Philippines follows the US as the second highest
producer of geothermal power in the world, with 1,904 MW of capacity online; geothermal power makes
up approximately 18% of the country's electricity generation.

Geothermal (ground source) heat pumps represented an estimated 30 GWth of installed capacity at the
end of 2008, with other direct uses of geothermal heat (i.e., for space heating, agricultural drying and
other uses) reaching an estimated 15 GWth. As of 2008, at least 76 countries use direct geothermal
energy in some form.

[edit]Wave farms expansion

One of 3 Pelamis Wave Energy Converters in the harbor of Peniche,Portugal

Main article: Wave farm

Portugal now has the world's first commercial wave farm, the Agucadoura Wave Park, officially opened in
September 2008. The farm uses three Pelamis P-750 machines generating 2.25 MW. Initial costs
are put at € 8.5 million. A second phase of the project is now planned to increase the installed capacity to
21MW using a further 25 Pelamis machines.

Funding for a wave farm in Scotland was announced in February, 2007 by the Scottish Government, at a
cost of over 4 million pounds, as part of a UK£13 million funding packages for ocean power in Scotland.
The farm will be the world's largest with a capacity of 3MW generated by four Pelamis machines.

[edit]Developing country markets

Main article: Renewable energy in developing countries

Renewable energy can be particularly suitable for developing countries. In rural and remote areas,
transmission and distribution of energy generated fromfossil fuels can be difficult and expensive.
Producing renewable energy locally can offer a viable alternative.

Biomass cookstoves are used by 40 percent of the world’s population. These stoves are being
manufactured in factories and workshops worldwide, and more than 160 million households now use
them. More than 30 million rural households get lighting and cooking from biogas made in household-
scale digesters. An estimated 3 million households get power from small solar PV systems. Micro-hydro
systems configured into village-scale or county-scale mini-grids serve many areas.

Kenya is the world leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita. More than 30,000
very small solar panels, each producing 12 to 30 watts, are sold in Kenya annually.

Renewable energy projects in many developing countries have demonstrated that renewable energy can
directly contribute to poverty alleviation by providing the energy needed for creating businesses and
employment. Renewable energy technologies can also make indirect contributions to alleviating poverty
by providing energy for cooking, space heating, and lighting. Renewable energy can also contribute to
education, by providing electricity to schools.

[edit]Industry and policy trends

See also: Renewable energy industry and Renewable energy policy

Global renewable energy investment growth (1995-2007)[64]

Global revenues for solar photovoltaics, wind power, and biofuels expanded from $76 billion in 2007 to
$115 billion in 2008. New global investments in clean energy technologies expanded by 4.7 percent from
$148 billion in 2007 to $155 billion in 2008. U.S. President Barack Obama's American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes more than $70 billion in direct spending and tax credits for clean
energy and associated transportation programs. Clean Edge suggests that the commercialization of clean
energy will help countries around the world pull out of the current economic malaise. Leading
renewable energy companies include First Solar, Gamesa, GE Energy, Q-Cells, Sharp
Solar, Siemens, SunOpta, Suntech, and Vestas.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization for promoting
the adoption of renewable energy worldwide. It aims to provide concrete policy advice and
facilitate capacity building and technology transfer. IRENA was formed on January 26, 2009, by
75 countries signing the charter of IRENA. As of March 2010, IRENA has 143 member states who all
are considered as founding members, of which 14 have also ratified the statute.

Renewable energy policy targets exist in some 73 countries around the world, and public policies to
promote renewable energy use have become more common in recent years. At least 64 countries have
some type of policy to promote renewable power generation. Mandates for solar hot water in new
construction are becoming more common at both national and local levels. Mandates for
blending biofuels into vehicle fuels have been enacted in 17 countries.

[edit]New and emerging renewable energy technologies

New and emerging renewable energy technologies are still under development and include cellulosic
ethanol, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy. These technologies are not yet widely
demonstrated or have limited commercialization. Many are on the horizon and may have potential
comparable to other renewable energy technologies, but still depend on attracting sufficient attention and
research, development and demonstration (RD&D) funding.

[edit]Cellulosic ethanol
See also: Cellulosic ethanol commercialization

Companies such as Iogen, Broin, and Abengoa are building refineries that can process biomass and turn
it into ethanol, while companies such as Diversa, Novozymes, and Dyadic are producing enzymes which
could enable a cellulosic ethanol future. The shift from food crop feedstocks to waste residues and native
grasses offers significant opportunities for a range of players, from farmers to biotechnology firms, and
from project developers to investors.

Selected Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Plants in the U.S.
(Operational or under construction)

Company Location Feedstock

Abengoa Bioenergy Hugoton, KS Wheat straw

BlueFire Ethanol Irvine, CA Multiple sources

Gulf Coast Energy Mossy Head, FL Wood waste

Mascoma Lansing, MI Wood

POET LLC Emmetsburg, IA Corn cobs

Range Fuels Treutlen County, GA Wood waste

SunOpta Little Falls, MN Wood chips

Xethanol Auburndale, FL Citrus peels

[edit]Ocean energy
Systems to harvest utility-scale electrical power from ocean waves have recently been gaining
momentum as a viable technology. The potential for this technology is considered promising, especially
on west-facing coasts with latitudes between 40 and 60 degrees:

In the United Kingdom, for example, the Carbon Trust recently estimated the extent of the economically
viable offshore resource at 55 TWh per year, about 14% of current national demand. Across Europe, the
technologically achievable resource has been estimated to be at least 280 TWh per year. In 2003, the
U.S. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimated the viable resource in the United States at 255
TWh per year (6% of demand).

The world's first commercial tidal power station was installed in 2007 in the narrows of Strangford
Lough in Ireland. The 1.2 megawatt underwater tidal electricity generator, part of Northern Ireland's
Environment & Renewable Energy Fund scheme, takes advantage of the fast tidal flow (up to 4 metres
per second) in the lough. Although the generator is powerful enough to power a thousand homes, the
turbine has minimal environmental impact, as it is almost entirely submerged, and the rotors pose no
danger to wildlife as they turn quite slowly.

Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature difference that exists between deep and
shallow waters to run a heat engine.

[edit]Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Main article: Enhanced Geothermal Systems
Enhanced geothermal system1:Reservoir 2:Pump house 3:Heat exchanger 4:Turbine hall 5:Production well
6:Injection well 7:Hot water to district heating 8:Porous sediments 9:Observation well 10:Crystalline bedrock

Enhanced Geothermal Systems are a new type of geothermal power technologies that do not require
natural convective hydrothermal resources. The vast majority of geothermal energy within drilling reach is
in dry and non-porous rock. EGS technologies "enhance" and/or create geothermal resources in this
"hot dry rock (HDR)" through hydraulic stimulation.

EGS / HDR technologies, like hydrothermal geothermal, are expected to be baseload resources which
produce power 24 hours a day like a fossil plant. Distinct from hydrothermal, HDR / EGS may be feasible
anywhere in the world, depending on the economic limits of drill depth. Good locations are over
deepgranite covered by a thick (3–5 km) layer of insulating sediments which slow heat loss.

There are HDR and EGS systems currently being developed and tested in France, Australia, Japan,
Germany, the U.S. and Switzerland. The largest EGS project in the world is a 25 megawatt demonstration
plant currently being developed in the Cooper Basin, Australia. The Cooper Basin has the potential to
generate 5,000–10,000 MW.

[edit]Nanotechnology thin-film solar panels

Solar power panels that use nanotechnology, which can create circuits out of individual silicon molecules,
may cost half as much as traditional photovoltaic cells, according to executives and investors involved in
developing the products. Nanosolar has secured more than $100 million from investors to build a factory
for nanotechnology thin-film solar panels.
[edit]Renewable energy debate
Main article: Renewable energy debate

Renewable electricity production, from sources such as wind power and solar power, is sometimes
criticized for being variable or intermittent. However, theInternational Energy Agency has stated that
deployment of renewable technologies usually increases the diversity of electricity sources and, through
local generation, contributes to the flexibility of the system and its resistance to central shocks.

There have been "not in my back yard" (NIMBY) concerns relating to the visual and other impacts of
some wind farms, with local residents sometimes fighting or blocking construction. In the USA, the
Massachusetts Cape Wind project was delayed for years partly because of aesthetic concerns. However,
residents in other areas have been more positive and there are many examples of community wind farm
developments. According to a town councilor, the overwhelming majority of locals believe that
the Ardrossan Wind Farm in Scotland has enhanced the area.