Thursday, April 12, 2018

Container Roll-Out Solar System

ECLIPS Engineering demonstrated their Container Roll-Out Solar System (CROSS) in Canberra today. These are standard solar panels attached to a hinged framework mounted on a shipping container compatible platform. This can be sued to reduce military fuel use.

The demonstration was held at the Canberra drag-strip, normally used for Street Machine Summernats Car Festival. In place of high speed cars there was a forklift which unloaded the solar panels from a shipping container. 

The system is designed to provide power for military forward bases and mining camps. A stack of platforms is transported to the site in a standard 20 or 40 foot shipping container. The container is stacked with platforms, each fitted with 5 or 10 solar modules. Each platform is slid out, placed on the ground and then the panels hinged up to face the sun.

The panels are standard domestic units, mourned to an aluminum frame with standard brackets. While made of glass, the panels are reasonably robust. The steel platform they are mounted on appears heavy enough to keep the panels in place in the strongest wind.

This appears a workable system for military use, but may be over-engineered for civilian applications. The platform used is derived from one used for transporting tens of tonnes of supplies. The 20 foot unit weighs more than 1,350 kg, of which less than one quarter would be the panels and their frame. A much lighter platform might be developed to hold the few hundred kilos of solar panels. This would particularly useful for transport by air.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Australian Energy Security Board Not On Track to Deliver Affordable Energy

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Clare Savage, Deputy Chair of the Energy Security Board is speaking on the National Energy Guarantee. Clare said that the board would not be proposing technical reliability measures, be included in energy suppliers contracts, as this would be too complex. However, financial markets have far more complex traded commodities, so I can't see why this can't be done for energy. If reliability measures are not being provided as part of the market based energy system, then I can't see how they can be provided cost-effectively. If reliability is just a requirement imposed on providers we are likely to see a similar situation as with wires and poles, where companies overbuilt the system in the name of reliability, to push up prices to the consumer and thus increase profits. The Australian Energy Security Board is going down a path which will deliver reliable power, but it will be expensive power, with high carbon emissions.

The Australian Energy Security Board has to work within the constraints set by government. However, it should still be possible to design a system which will reward innovations in new technology which can deliver reliability, along with low emissions at an afford able price.  I suggest the Board change their approach to explore those options.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Information Awareness Month 2018 off to a Bad Start by NAA

May's Information Awareness Month 2018 got off to a bad start with the National Archives of Australia (NAA) emailing out an invitation to the launch in the form of an image. Those who have difficulties seeing images could click on the included link, but NAA should have included the details of the event as text. This is a matter of common courtesy and also helps comply with Australian anti-discrimination law. Ironically, David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia, will be presenting the National Archives Awards for Digital Excellence at the event.