Help Support EV News Report
EV News Report is not a non-profit

You are browsing the archive for MIT Archives – EV News Report.

Avatar of EV News

by EV News

Seeing how a lithium-ion battery works

June 8, 2014 in Battery Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles, Environment, EV News, Large Energy Storage

By David L. Chandler, MIT

An exotic state of matter — a “random solid solution” — affects how ions move through battery material.

Diagram illustrates the process of charging or discharging the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) electrode. As lithium ions are removed during the charging process, it forms a lithium-depleted iron phosphate (FP) zone, but in between there is a solid solution zone (SSZ, shown in dark blue-green) containing some randomly distributed lithium atoms, unlike the orderly array of lithium atoms in the original crystalline material (light blue). This work provides the first direct observations of this SSZ phenomenon. Image courtesy of authors.

Diagram illustrates the process of charging or discharging the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) electrode. As lithium ions are removed during the charging process, it forms a lithium-depleted iron phosphate (FP) zone, but in between there is a solid solution zone (SSZ, shown in dark blue-green) containing some randomly distributed lithium atoms, unlike the orderly array of lithium atoms in the original crystalline material (light blue). This work provides the first direct observations of this SSZ phenomenon.
Image courtesy of authors.

New observations by researchers at MIT have revealed the inner workings of a type of electrode widely used in lithium-ion batteries. The new findings explain the unexpectedly high power and long cycle life of such batteries, the researchers say.

The findings appear in a paper in the journal Nano Letters co-authored by MIT postdoc Jun Jie Niu, research scientist Akihiro Kushima, professors Yet-Ming Chiang and Ju Li, and three others.

The electrode material studied, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), is considered an especially promising material for lithium-based rechargeable batteries; it has already been demonstrated in applications ranging from power tools to electric vehicles to large-scale grid storage. The MIT researchers found that inside this electrode, during charging, a solid-solution zone (SSZ) forms at the boundary between lithium-rich and lithium-depleted areas — the region where charging activity is concentrated, as lithium ions are pulled out of the electrode.

Li says that this SSZ “has been theoretically predicted to exist, but we see it directly for the first time,” in transmission electron microscope (TEM) videos taken during charging.

The observations help to resolve a longstanding puzzle about LiFePO4: In bulk crystal form, both lithium iron phosphate and iron phosphate (FePO4, which is left behind as lithium ions migrate out of the material during charging) have very poor ionic and electrical conductivities. Yet when treated — with doping and carbon coating — and used as nanoparticles in a battery, the material exhibits an impressively high charging rate. “It was quite surprising when this [rapid charging and discharging rate] was first demonstrated,” Li says.

“We directly observed a metastable random solid solution that may resolve this fundamental problem that has intrigued [materials scientists] for many years,” says Li, the Battelle Energy Alliance Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a professor of materials science and engineering.

The SSZ is a “metastable” state, persisting for at least several minutes at room temperature. Replacing a sharp interface between LiFePO4 and FePO4 that has been shown to contain many additional line defects called “dislocations,” the SSZ serves as a buffer, reducing the number of dislocations that would otherwise move with the electrochemical reaction front. “We don’t see any dislocations,” Li says. This could be important because the generation and storage of dislocations can cause fatigue and limit the cycle life of an electrode.

Unlike conventional TEM imaging, the technique used in this work, developed in 2010 by Kushima and Li, makes it possible to observe battery components as they charge and discharge, which can reveal dynamic processes. “In the last four years, there has been a big explosion of using such in situ TEM techniques to study battery operations,” Li says.

A better understanding of these dynamic processes could improve the performance of an electrode material by allowing better tuning of its properties, Li says.

Despite an incomplete understanding to date, lithium iron phosphate nanoparticles are already used at an industrial scale for lithium-ion batteries, Li explains. “The science is lagging behind the application,” he says. “It’s already scaled up and quite successful on the market. It’s one of the success stories of nanotechnology.”

“Compared to traditional lithium-ion, [lithium iron phosphate] is environmentally friendly, and very stable,” Niu says. “But it’s important for this material to be well understood.”

While the discovery of the SSZ was made in LiFePO4, Li says, “The same principle may apply to other electrode materials. People are looking for high-power electrode materials, and such metastable states could exist in other electrode materials that are inert in bulk form. … The phenomenon discovered could be very general, and not specific to this material.”

Chongmin Wang, a research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who was not involved in this research, calls this paper “great work.”

“Several models based on both theoretical and experimental work have been proposed,” Wang says. “However, none of them appears to be conclusive.”

This new research, he says, “provides convincing and direct evidence” of the mechanism at work: “The work is a major step forward for pushing the ambiguities toward favoring a solid solution model.”

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

This article is a repost, credit: MIT.

Avatar of EV News

by EV News

Global survey: Climate change now a mainstream part of city planning

May 30, 2014 in Climate Change, Environment, Politics, Pollution

Survey reveals cities are planning for climate change, but still searching for links to economic growth.

Infographic courtesy of NOAA

Infographic courtesy of NOAA

By Peter Dizikes, MIT 

An increasing number of cities around the world now include preparations for climate change in their basic urban planning — but only a small portion of them have been able to make such plans part of their economic development priorities, according to a unique global survey of cities released today (5-29-14).

The Urban Climate Change Governance Survey (UCGS), based on responses from 350 cities worldwide, underscores the extent to which city leaders recognize climate change as a major challenge — even as they are trying to figure out how their responses can create jobs, growth, and cost savings in areas ranging from cities’ transportation networks to their distribution of businesses.

“Climate change isn’t an isolated issue,” says Alexander Aylett, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), and the lead author of today’s report. “It has large implications for all other aspects of urban life. What we are seeing is cities starting to build it into the DNA of how they approach urban planning.”

According to the findings, 75 percent of cities worldwide now tackle climate-change issues as a mainstream part of their planning, and 73 percent of cities are attempting both climate mitigation and climate adaptation — that is, they are trying both to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and to adapt to long-term changes that are already in motion. But only 21 percent of cities report tangible connections between the response to climate change and achieving other local development goals.

Aylett calls it a “cliché” that environmental and economic progress cannot coexist, citing a number of cities where jobs and growth have derived from climate-change efforts. Portland, Ore., he observes, developed incentives, training, and regulations to help sustainable construction firms grow, while a pilot program called Clean Energy Works Portland employed 400 workers to reduce home energy use, reducing carbon emissions by 1,400 metric tons annually.

Urban planners in Alberta, as Aylett notes, have studied the cost savings associated with limiting metropolitan sprawl and concluded that denser development could save $11 billion in capital costs over the next 60 years, and $130 million in annual maintenance. But most cities, he suggests, have simply not yet identified ways to link climate planning and economic development in the first place.

“It isn’t so much that it’s hard to reconcile economic and environmental priorities,” Aylett says. “It’s that we’re not trying.”

Regional differences remain

The new report is a companion to a survey conducted in 2012. This year’s results revealed continuing regional disparities in urban climate planning. Compared with the global average of 75 percent, U.S. cities lag in planning for both mitigation and adaptation, with just 58 percent of cities addressing both. This echoes the 2012 survey, which revealed that a smaller portion of U.S. cities were doing basic climate-change planning, compared with those in other regions — 59 percent in the U.S., for instance, compared with 95 percent in Latin America.

Globally, 63 percent of cities say they have between one and five employees dedicated to climate-change planning; North American cities are most likely to have just one staff member focused on the topic. As the report’s executive summary notes, “A lack of funding to hire sufficient staff to work on climate change is a significant challenge for 67 percent of cities.”

On a different note, about 85 percent of cities have conducted an inventory of local greenhouse-gas emissions, and 15 percent, as part of that effort, have tried to track the emissions that stem from goods and services consumed within that city. As Aylett points out, “Beginning to address these upstream emissions is crucial if cities are really going to help bring down global emissions.”

The results also reveal that local industries and businesses are relatively disengaged with urban responses to climate change: About 25 percent of cities say that local businesses have been crucial to creating and implementing their climate mitigation plans, whereas 48 percent of cities report that local civil-society groups, such as nonprofits or other organizations, have been involved in climate planning.

The survey is a collaboration between DUSP and ICLEI, the world’s largest association of cities. Today’s report is being released in conjunction with an ICLEI-backed conference on urban planning, being held in Bonn, Germany. To conduct the survey, questionnaires were sent to officials in more than 700 cities worldwide, with 48 percent of them responding to a set of 69 queries.

Other scholars believe the UCGS results are valuable. John Robinson, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia, calls the survey “extremely important and extremely useful.” In particular, Robinson says, an “important issue raised by this work is what the connection is between framing these responses in terms of climate change and framing them in terms of broader conceptual frameworks, such as sustainability.” Promoting the general idea of sustainable development in urban areas, he adds, may be “most helpful in mainstreaming climate policy.”

This article is a repost (5-29-14), credit: MIT.

Avatar of EV News

by EV News

Altaeros Energies Poised to Break World Record with Alaska High Altitude Wind Turbine

March 29, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

Photo courtesy of Altaeros

Photo courtesy of Altaeros

Boston, MA – Altaeros Energies, a wind energy company formed out of MIT, announced that its Alaska demonstration project is set to break the world record for the highest wind turbine ever deployed. The $1.3 million, eighteen-month project will deploy the Altaeros BAT at a height 1,000 feet above ground.

The BAT (Buoyant Airborne Turbine) project, partially financed by the Alaska Energy Authority’s Emerging Energy Technology Fund, will be the first long-term demonstration of an airborne wind turbine. The project is currently being permitted for a site south of Fairbanks.

Altaeros recently received additional funding from RNT Associates International Pte Limited, a company owned and controlled by Mr. Ratan N Tata, former Chairman of the Tata Group. Tata Power, a Tata Group subsidiary, is the leading developer of wind energy projects in India.

“We are pleased to work with the Alaska Energy Authority and TDX Power to deploy our flexible, low cost power solution for remote communities,” stated Ben Glass, Altaeros Chief Executive Officer. “The project will generate enough energy to power over a dozen homes. The BAT can be transported and setup without the need for large cranes, towers, or underground foundations that have hampered past wind projects.”

At a height of 1,000 feet, the BAT commercial-scale pilot project in Alaska will be over 275 feet taller than the current record holder for the highest wind turbine, the Vestas V164-8.0-MW. Vestas recently installed its first prototype at the Danish National Test Center for Large Wind Turbines in Østerild, with a hub height of 460 feet and blade tips that stretch over 720 feet high.

Altaeros has designed the BAT to generate consistent, low cost energy for the $17 billion remote power and microgrid market, which is currently served by expensive diesel generators. Target customers include remote and island communities; oil & gas, mining, agriculture, and telecommunication firms; disaster relief organizations; and military bases.

The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground. The lifting technology is adapted from aerostats, industrial cousins of blimps, which have lifted heavy communications equipment into the air for decades. Aerostats are rated to survive hurricane-level winds and have safety features that ensure a slow descent to the ground. In 2013, Altaeros successfully tested a BAT prototype in 45 mph winds and at a height of 500 feet at its test site in Maine.

Investment into the high altitude wind sector has recently gained momentum with the acquisition of U.S.-based Makani Power by Google in 2013. Recent investment in EU airborne wind energy companies has included 3M’s funding of Nature Technology Systems (Germany), DSM Venturing’s funding of SkySails (Germany), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ funding of Ampyx Power (The Netherlands), and Sabic Ventures’ funding of KiteGen (Italy).

About Altaeros

Altaeros Energies was founded in 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to harness high altitude winds to deploy low cost power. Altaeros won the 2011 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize, and has been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research programs. Additional support has come from the Alaska Energy Authority, the California Energy Commission, the Maine Technology Institute, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Altaeros has operations in Somerville, Massachusetts; Limestone, Maine; and Rio Negrinho, Brazil.

This article is a repost (3-21-14), credit: Altaeros. Video courtesy of Altaeros.

Avatar of EV News

by EV News

Nissan Announces Unprecedented Autonomous Drive Benchmarks

August 27, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, LEAF, Nissan

  • Nissan will be ready with revolutionary commercially-viable Autonomous Drive in multiple vehicles by the year 2020
  • Program underway in Japan to construct first dedicated, purpose-built autonomous drive proving ground
  • The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations
  • Nissan already working with top universities including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford and The University of Tokyo*; seeks to broaden collaborative research with other world-class institutions as well as start-ups
  • Nissan leveraging 80 years of technical prowess and innovation in new effort to revolutionize vehicle chassis and design for Autonomous Drive
Photo courtesy of Nissan

Photo courtesy of Nissan (Nissan LEAF)

IRVINE, Calif. – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that the company will be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020. Nissan announced that the company’s engineers have been carrying out intensive research on the technology for years, alongside teams from the world’s top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo.

Work is already underway in Japan to build a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2014. Featuring real townscapes – masonry not mock-ups – it will be used to push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe.

Nissan’s autonomous driving will be achieved at realistic prices for consumers. The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations.

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Photo courtesy of Nissan (Nissan LEAF)

“Nissan Motor Company’s willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress – is what sets us apart,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn. “In 2007 I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.”

Nissan is demonstrating the breadth of the capability of its autonomous drive technology for the first time at Nissan 360, a huge test drive and stakeholder interaction event being held in Southern California. Laser scanners, Around View Monitor cameras, as well as advanced artificial intelligence and actuators, have been installed in Nissan LEAFs to enable them to negotiate complex real-world driving scenarios.

Nissan’s autonomous driving technology is an extension of its Safety Shield, which monitors a 360-degree view around a vehicle for risks, offers warnings to the driver and takes action if necessary. It is based on the philosophy that everything required should be on board the vehicle, rather than relying on detailed external data. The technology being demonstrated at Nissan 360 means the car could drive autonomously on a highway – sticking to or changing lanes and avoiding collisions – without a map. It can also be integrated with a standard in-car navigation system so the vehicle knows which turns to take to reach its destination.

A revolutionary concept like autonomous drive will have implications throughout the design and construction of cars. For example, collision-avoidance by machines with the capability to react more rapidly and with more complex movements than a human driver will place new demands on the chassis and traction control. Nissan is leveraging 80 years of research and development expertise to create a complete solution for autonomous drive.

A vehicle that looks out for you

Six million crashes in the US per year cost $160 billion and rank as the top reason of death for four- to 34-year olds. And, 93% of accidents in the US are due to human error, typically due to inattention.

With Autonomous Drive Nissan has the technology today to detect and respond to the situations causing this tragedy.

In the future, Autonomous Drive also means less input from the driver; U.S. drivers average 48 minutes per day on the road — hundreds of hours a year that could be used more productively.

For the aged or those with disabilities, Autonomous Drive offers another benefit: true independence and mobility for all.

*Full list of institutions currently involved: AIST(National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Chuo University, Hiroshima University, The University of Iowa, University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NAIST (Nara Institute of Science and Technology), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, Kyushu University, Keio University, Nagoya University, Shinshu University, Tohoku University, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, UC Berkeley, The University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba, Waseda University, University of Yamanashi

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and, or visit the Americas media sites and

About Nissan

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.

This article is a repost, credit: Nissan,

Avatar of EV News

by EV News

New rechargeable flow battery enables cheaper, large-scale energy storage

August 18, 2013 in EV News, Greentech, Large Energy Storage, Solar, Wind

Design may support widespread use of solar and wind energy.

Image credit: Felice Frankel  Courtesy of MIT

Image credit: Felice Frankel
Courtesy of MIT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn’t rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage. The palm-sized prototype generates three times as much power per square centimeter as other membraneless systems — a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries and other commercial and experimental energy-storage systems.

The device stores and releases energy in a device that relies on a phenomenon called laminar flow: Two liquids are pumped through a channel, undergoing electrochemical reactions between two electrodes to store or release energy. Under the right conditions, the solutions stream through in parallel, with very little mixing. The flow naturally separates the liquids, without requiring a costly membrane.

The reactants in the battery consist of a liquid bromine solution and hydrogen fuel. The group chose to work with bromine because the chemical is relatively inexpensive and available in large quantities, with more than 243,000 tons produced each year in the United States. In addition to bromine’s low cost and abundance, the chemical reaction between hydrogen and bromine holds great potential for energy storage. But fuel-cell designs based on hydrogen and bromine have largely had mixed results: Hydrobromic acid tends to eat away at a battery’s membrane, effectively slowing the energy-storing reaction and reducing the battery’s lifetime. To circumvent these issues, the team landed on a simple solution: Take out the membrane.

“This technology has as much promise as anything else being explored for storage, if not more,” says Cullen Buie, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “Contrary to previous opinions that membraneless systems are purely academic, this system could potentially have a large practical impact.” Buie, along with Martin Bazant, a professor of chemical engineering, and William Braff, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, have published their results this week in Nature Communications.

“Here, we have a system where performance is just as good as previous systems, and now we don’t have to worry about issues of the membrane,” Bazant says. “This is something that can be a quantum leap in energy-storage technology.”

Possible boost for solar and wind energy

Low-cost energy storage has the potential to foster widespread use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. To date, such energy sources have been unreliable: Winds can be capricious, and cloudless days are never guaranteed. With cheap energy-storage technologies, renewable energy might be stored and then distributed via the electric grid at times of peak power demand.

“Energy storage is the key enabling technology for renewables,” Buie says. “Until you can make [energy storage] reliable and affordable, it doesn’t matter how cheap and efficient you can make wind and solar, because our grid can’t handle the intermittency of those renewable technologies.” By designing a flow battery without a membrane, Buie says the group was able to remove two large barriers to energy storage: cost and performance. Membranes are often the most costly component of a battery, and the most unreliable, as they can corrode with repeated exposure to certain reactants.

Braff built a prototype of a flow battery with a small channel between two electrodes. Through the channel, the group pumped liquid bromine over a graphite cathode and hydrobromic acid under a porous anode. At the same time, the researchers flowed hydrogen gas across the anode. The resulting reactions between hydrogen and bromine produced energy in the form of free electrons that can be discharged or released.

The researchers were also able to reverse the chemical reaction within the channel to capture electrons and store energy — a first for any membraneless design. In experiments, Braff and his colleagues operated the flow battery at room temperature over a range of flow rates and reactant concentrations. They found that the battery produced a maximum power density of 0.795 watts of stored energy per square centimeter.

More storage, less cost

In addition to conducting experiments, the researchers drew up a mathematical model to describe the chemical reactions in a hydrogen-bromine system. Their predictions from the model agreed with their experimental results — an outcome that Bazant sees as promising for the design of future iterations. “We have a design tool now that gives us confidence that as we try to scale up this system, we can make rational decisions about what the optimal system dimensions should be,” Bazant says. “We believe we can break records of power density with more engineering guided by the model.”

According to preliminary projections, Braff and his colleagues estimate that the membraneless flow battery may produce energy costing as little as $100 per kilowatt-hour — a goal that the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated would be economically attractive to utility companies. “You can do so much to make the grid more efficient if you can get to a cost point like that,” Braff says. “Most systems are easily an order of magnitude higher, and no one’s ever built anything at that price.”

This article is a repost, credit: Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office,

Avatar of EV News

by EV News

UAE’s solar power capacity to reach 20GW by 2030, predicts Masdar Institute faculty

June 1, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director, Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Board Member, Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA). Photo courtesy of

Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director, Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Board Member, Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA).
 Photo courtesy of

Submitted on 05/30/13, 06:15 PM

The UAE could economically deploy solar power generation capacity of more than 20GW by 2030 if avoided and opportunity costs [sic] of new fossil power generation are fully considered and transparent, stable, predictable and enforceable regulatory and policy frameworks are implemented, according to Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director, Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Board Member, Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA).

Dr. Griffiths was speaking during the 5th Middle East & North Africa Solar Conference & Expo (MENASOL 2013) held from 14-15 May in Dubai.

A plenary panel of experts analyzed the prospects of concentrated solar power (CSP), photovoltaics (PV), and concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) in the UAE and the broader Middle East and North Africa region.

Nearly 300 delegates attended the event that was organized by CSP Today, part of FC Business Intelligence. ESIA was one of the sponsors.

Offering details, Dr. Griffiths indicated that by 2017, the MENA region may require more than 120GW in new generation capacity at a total cost of over $250bn in order to meet the rapid growth in regional electricity demand. He added that sustainable energy is economically viable but can only be implemented if robust supply-side and demand-side policies are implemented to stimulate deployment.

Dr. Griffiths said, “A sustainable energy strategy considering both demand and supply side considerations will be required for the MENA region. Clean energy including natural gas, nuclear and renewables will play an important role in sustainable supply. However, there is significant but unrealized opportunity for solar. The UAE and other Gulf countries have solar insolation levels that far exceed levels found in European countries, such as Germany, that already have achieved substantial solar deployment.”

“However, there is a strong need to translate technical potentials to economic benefits to guide solar energy policy development that will stimulate solar energy technology deployment. This may call for site-specific, long-term data with high spatial resolution, adjusted for local climate conditions. The UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) at Masdar Institute can offer guidance in this area,” he added.

The conference generated a great deal of interest in the work being done at ReCREMA, which is Directed by Dr Hosni Ghedra, because the bankability of solar projects in the region critically depends on accurate solar resource data. The Center has played a critical role in the development of the Global Solar Atlas, which is led by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and involves other global stakeholders.

The hourly/daily/yearly solar irradiance maps provided by the Atlas are produced by a robust satellite-based mapping tool developed and validated at ReCREMA. The Masdar Institute research center officially launched the UAE solar atlas during RIO+20 UN Conference held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.

Both photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) offer advantages but a mix of both technologies that accounts for their different attributes can bring maximum benefits, according to industry experts.

Dr. Griffiths added, “CSP offers the value of ‘dispatchable’ electricity when coupled with thermal storage and can also be coupled with combined cycle fossil power generation for a cleaner form of fossil power. PV, however, is much cheaper today than CSP in most geographic locations. Therefore, both CSP and PV make sense when used in a complimentary way with consideration of their optimal roles in the overall energy system. PV can be utilized particularly well in the Gulf to meet the peak mid-day demand from cooling loads. CSP can be utilized for supplying late day or early evening demand, which is particularly relevant in countries where peak demand does not always correspond with good solar resource conditions in the mid-day.”

Prior to his role at Masdar Institute, Dr. Griffiths was the Executive Director of the MIT Technology and Development Programme’s MIT/Abu Dhabi Programme and the founding Executive Vice President of Light Pharma Inc. In these roles, he worked in the US, India and the Middle East, leading the development and implementation of technical and strategic relationships. His interests and expertise are process design, technology strategy and financial analysis in the areas of information technology, biotechnology, and advanced energy technologies.

Dr. Griffiths’ notable current positions include the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA) Board of Directors, Abu Dhabi Science, Technology and Innovation R&D Taskforce, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize Selection Committee. Dr. Griffiths is Associate Editor and member of the Editorial Board of Elsevier’s international journal Energy Strategy Reviews.

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.

This article is a repost, credit:,