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An Overview of Emerging Alternative Energy Technologies and its Impact on the Demand for Engineers and Consultants


An Overview of Emerging Alternative Energy Technologies and its Impact on the Demand for Engineers and Consultants Stafford Cuffe, Ph.D. Member: AMA, IEEE, SAE – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: An Overview of Emerging Alternative Energy Technologies and its Impact on the Demand for Engineers and Consultants

An Overview of Emerging Alternative Energy
Technologies and its Impact on the Demand for
Engineers and Consultants
Stafford Cuffe, Ph.D.Member AMA, IEEE, SAE
  • IEEE Consultants Network Meeting
  • Chicago/Rockford Section
  • March 30, 2009

Introduction Global Drivers
  • Environmental forces of change has fueled the
    demand for alternative energy sources for the new
  • Examples globalization, high energy costs,
    climate change issues, labor factors, competitive
    factors, emerging technologies, socio-economic
    factors, geo-political factors, global financial
    meltdown, new government regulations, federal
    stimulus funds, and new business best practices.
  • Demand for oil will rise at about the rate of
    2.2 a year through 2012, primarily
    driven by the developing world's
    consumption, which is rising three
    times as fast as in the OECD.
    Transportation fuels will be the
    largest source of demand, by far.

Source Neider, 2007
Alternative Energy Sources
  • There are several popular alternative energy
    sources such as bio-fuel, wind, solar cell, fuel
    cell, and hydropower.
  • Scholars and subject matter experts agree that
    wind, solar cell and fuel cell have a higher
    rate-of-return and are attracting new players
    in the energy sector.
  • Some states (e.g., CA,CO, FL, MI, NM, OH, TX)
    have turned to alternative energy (i.e., wind,
    solar) to reinvent their stagnant economy fueled
    by the new stimulus energy funds.

Bio-ethanol and other Bio-Fuels Energy
  • In 2003, world ethanol production was 20 billion
    liters and Brazil (sugar cane) and the US (corn)
    were the main players at that time. Other
    countries are considering entering the ethanol
    fuel market with diverse raw materials base and
    could increase the world production to 80 billion
    liters by 2020 (Gielen Unander, 2005).
  • Biofuels are mass transportation fuels produced
    by processing vegetable oils such as soy, and
    palm. Also, bio-fuels are renewable that can
    reduce green houses gas and emissions compared to
    the standard petroleum based fuels.

Source http//
Wind Energy
  • The Department of Energy is assisting
    universities and the private sector to develop
    clean, domestic and emerging technologies to
    reduce Americas dependence on imported oil. In
    2006, wind power generated 2.454 MW, a 26
    increase and was the second largest contributor
    to US national power grid over the last two

Grid-Connected Wind Applications
  • Small wind turbines (SWT) is used in
    grid-connected applications for residential,
    industrial or even, lately, urban environments.
     The so-called distributed wind applications are
    poised for rapid market growth in response to
    continuing energy price increases and increased
    demand for on-site power generation.  
  • Presently, the major share of development of this
    market is in the US, Canada and Australia, in
    parallel with new trends in the development of
    distributed generation systems.  This emerging
    market provides a new impulse to the development
    of Small Wind Turbine (SWT) technology.
  • Wind power can also be used to generate
    electricity in an urban environment.  This trend
    has mainly been seen in Europe, where the
    integration of SWTs in the built environment is
    being actively discussed.

Hydropower Energy
  • Emerging water power technologies such as marine
    and hydrokinetic devices can transform energy
    from waves, tides, ocean currents and the natural
    flow of rivers into clean energy. Hydropower
    accounted for 7 of Americas electric power and
    was 73 renewable in 2005. It is one of the
    oldest forms of energy sources and was used
    thousands of years ago to process grain into

Sources (1) (2)
Fuel Cells Energy
  • There many types of fuel cells on the market and
    trying to decide the best type to match specific
    applications can be very challenge for those
    individual who may not be familiar with the
    emerging technology.
  • Most subject mater experts agree to be
    successfully commercializing fuel cells products
    suppliers should consider the correct type of
    fuel cells to match the specific application and
    market conditions.

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)
  • Solid electrolyte and porous carbon electrodes
    embedded with a noble metal catalyst (i.e.,
    platinum) are used in the construction of PEMFCs.
  • Low temperature PEMFCs operate at 60-80C and
    have quick start up times.
  • High temperature PEMFCs operate at 100-200C and
    have a longer start up time before they can
    generate electricity.

Source (1) Eisemann Willis, 2004 (2)
Anonymous2, n.d.
Honda FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Car
  • V Flow Fuel Cell Stack Proton Exchange Membrane
    Fuel Cell (PEMFC).
  • Standard Power Output 100 kW Size (liters)57
    Weight (lbs) 148.
  • Electric Power Storage Lithium-Ion Battery
    Standard Output (Volts) 288.
  • Electric Motor AC Synchronous Permanent-Magnet.
  • Electric Motor Standard Horsepower (SAE net)134,
    Torque (lb-ft _at_ rpm)189 _at_ 0 - 3,056 Power Output
    100 kW.

Honda FCX Clarity
Source (1) http//
(2) http//
Other Types of Fuel Cells
  • Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC)
  • DMFC is similar to PEMFC because its electrolyte
    is polymer based. It is in the early stages of
    development operating at 80 C with a low
    efficiency of less than 40. However, it is not a
    good candidate for commercialization because of
    its immature characteristics.
  • The electrochemical hurdles for DMFC include
    concerns about methanol electro-catalysis and
    anode poisoning
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) operate at 600 to
    1000C making it the highest in the family of
    fuel SOFC are suitable for high powered
    industrial applications such as power suppliers
    and generators with an efficiency of 45.
    Automotive and hotel load applications (e.g.,
    tank silent watch, vehicle idling).

Source Anonymous1, n.d.
Solar Cells Energy
  • Emerging solar cells technologies offers the best
    opportunity for long term rate of return on
    investment and sustainability compared to the
    other types of alternate energy sources.
  • Concerns about the environment can be a powerful
    driver for selecting solar cells products for
  • Research data had reported that an average
    coal-fired power plant emits 225 pounds of
    arsenic, 500 tons of particulates, four pounds of
    cadmium, 5,000 tons of sulfur oxides, 114 pounds
    of lead, one million tons of carbon and 10,000
    tons of nitrogen oxides annually.
  • 20,000 US citizens die annually due to
    airborne particulates generated by power

Source Solar Energy Fact Sheets, 2002
Popular Thin Solar Cell Films
  • Amorphous silicon technology is most often seen
    in small solar panels. They are made by
    depositing a thin film of silicon onto a sheet of
    another material (e.g., glass, plastic)
  • Cadmium Telluride (CdTe). First Solar, an Ohio
    based company, uses CdTe solar cells.
  • Emerging Dye-sensitized, inorganic/nano-materials
    solar cells
  • NANOSOLAR Ink Jet Printing process uses
    Nano-particles ink that eliminates the need for
    expensive high-vacuum chamber.
  • Copper Indium diselenide (CIS) is used in the
    solar cell industry as prototype modules.

Sources (1) http//
/figure-a1.jpg (2) http//
h/aeml/TCO-Solutionroute.gif (3) (4) Bradford, 2007 Malenson,
Solar Cells Applications
  • Utility grid connected solar cell applications
  • Grid interactive systems Remote solar cell
  • Consumer products applications
  • Utility grid connected applications
  • Grid interactive systems
  • Remote solar cell applications

Sources (1)
(2) http//
American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009
(stimulus funding)
  • 50 billion for energy programs
  • 32 billion to modernize the US power grid
  • 20 billion tax cut for alternative energy
  • 18.5 energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • 11 billion for smart electricity grid (manage
    variability of very high levels of wind and solar
    power generation)
  • 6.3 billion in state energy agency efficiencies
  • 4.5 billion to make Federal Buildings more
  • 2 billion in grants for advanced batteries for
    electric cars
  • Will create 148,000 more jobs for Illinois

Drivers for the Demand for Energy Engineers and
  • Wave of retirements in the public and private
  • The Federal Stimulus Spending Bill (ARRA)
  • US Recession and loss of traditional high paying
  • Increase demand for energy
  • Climate change (global warming)
  • Increase in disposable or old economy skills sets
  • The end of the old economy and start of the new
  • Increase demand for data savvy professionals
  • Increase demand in power for data center
  • Increase demand for professionals with multiple
    or cross functional skills and/or degrees (i.e.,

Potential Consulting Opportunities
  • Fuel Cell Consultant 60 - 220/HR
  • Solar Cell Consultant 50 -150/HR
  • Integration Consultant 60- 500/HR
  • Alternative Energy Consultant 55-150/HR
  • Renewable Energy Consultant 45-150/HR
  • Automotive Hybrid Fuel Consultant 55-155/HR
  • Alternative Energy Technologist 40-75/HR

  • Anonymous1, (n.d.). Development of Early Fuel
  • Anonymous2, (n.d.). History of Fuel Cell.
    Retrieved from, June 1,
  • Bradford, T Grama, S Wesoff, E Bhargava, A.
    (2007, August). The Future of Thin Film Solar
    Executive Summary.
  • Eisenmann, Willis, M. (2004, March 30). Fuel
    Cells The Hydrogen Revolution. Harvard Business
    School, Product no 9-804-144
  • Gielen, D Unanader, F (2005, March). Alternate
    Fuels An Energy Technology Perspective. Report
    Number EET/2005/01. Paris, France
  • Malanson (2008). Nanosolar inkjet solar cells
    film rolls off the press at 100 feet per minute.
  • Neider (2007). Medium-Term Supply/Demand Growth
    of Oil.
  • Solar Energy Fact Sheets (2002).

Contact Information
  • Stafford Cuffe Ph.D.
  • Member AMA, IEEE, SAE
  • E-mail
  • E-mail
  • Cell Phone (248)705-9043