Is government intervention hampering private investment into East-African renewables?

Many experts believe the contribution of governments within East-Africa is slowing the speed of growth in the renewable energies sector. Government involvement in the design, development and operation of mini-grids is deterring potential private investments; private investments into East-African renewable energies were predicted to surge in recent years but this has not been the case.
Experts from within the sector are pointing the finger at government agencies that are crowding out the developers using legal and political tools that are in need of reforms. Private companies have indeed shown an interest in investing but they have insisted the power and subsidies given to government companies need addressing if their investment is to be warranted.
Kenya’s ministry of energy has said that overall electricity access has increased within the country from 23 percent in 2009 to 50 percent in 2015; however, the unequal distribution of this electricity is still highly prevalent with much of northern Kenya still deprived of such resource. Regions such as northern Kenya have access of about 5 percent. It says eight out of the 20 poorest parliamentary constituencies “where 74 percent to 97 percent of people live below poverty line” are found in this northern region.
A number of renewable energies companies would happily address this problem, through investment into the northern and other neglected territories of Kenya, however, the unfair position of power given to Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA), just completely deters these prospective companies.

In countries such as Kenya, which has such vast areas which do not have access to any electricity, mini-grids are definitely a better option to grid extension; it provides better quality and more reliable electricity to remote areas.

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Iron-air batteries: a cheap and eco-friendly solution for energy storage

After more than 40 after preparing the first prototype of a cheap , rechargeable, high energy density iron-air battery, researchers at the University of Southern California are now finishing the job of the patent-pending design of the battery.

The technical characteristics of the batteries look particularly well-suited to the kind of large-scale energy storage that could accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources.

lithium-air-battery

Back in the 70’s, researchers were already working on environmentally friendly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and only recent advances in materials technology have made this technology into one of the most common, high-performing solutions for today’s portable electronics.

Iron compared to other materials has a few advantages: it’s durable, it has a great capacity to pack energy (per unit of mass), it’s recyclable but most importantly it’s cheap with costs around US$1/kg (2.2 lb).

Iron-air batteries were first expected to be used for electric vehicles and military applications after the 1973 oil crisis. However, research stopped abruptly only years later, when scientists realized that iron-air batteries presented a serious  limitation: whenever the battery was being charged, a wasteful process of hydrolysis drained away about half of the battery’s energy.

iron_air_battery

With today’s technology and advanced research, University of Southern California found a solution to this  problem. They learned that adding a small amount of bismuth sulfide into the battery shut down the harmful reaction and reduced the waste of energy more than tenfold, from 50 down to just 4% .

The other good characteristic cost-effective design of its iron electrode. The researchers combined iron powder with a polyethylene binder, heating the mix to obtain a “pressed-plate” electrode that is simple to make and has high specific energy.

The iron-air battery is exhibiting very promising durability, with a target life of 5,000 charge-discharge cycles. Even more importantly, the batteries seem to retain good performance when they are being drained quickly: at a two-hour rate of discharge, the batteries are showing a twenty-fold increase in capacity compared to commercially available electrodes.

Shanghai Metal Corporation encourages the development and innovation of new technologies. You can visit the company’s website , contact us and follow us on twitter and facebook for more information and news on metal.

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Houria // SMC Editor

Wearable Metal – SMC’s selection for you

Today Shanghai Metal Corporation is willing to challenge you! Tomorrow morning, on your way to school or work, try to count the number of people wearing metal items. Not only watches and jewelry; look for shoes, wearable electronic devices and so on. We do not commonly realize it, but metal is increasingly used in the production of items that we wear and use everyday. Take a look at the selection of the coolest metal wearable items that Shanghai Metal Corporation chose for you.

MI BAND

xiaomi-mi-bands
from pixelonomics.com

With its linear design and a competitive price, Mi Band is the smart wearable bracelet produced by the Chinese company Xiaomi. Among its functions, Mi Band unlocks you phone without a password, monitors fitness level and tracks sleeping quality. Mi Band is a small metal accessory featuring three LED lights and it comes with a silicon or real leather strap.

FRENDS HEADPHONES

frendsHeadphones2
from decadentdissonance.com/


Aesthetics and quality for the beautiful FRENDS Layla leather and iridescent metal headphones.

HIGH FASHION ITEMS

Untitled design
From Prada to Alexander McQueen, form Toga to Christian Louboutin, according to Vogue.it the 2015 Spring/Summer fashion season is characterized by the rock style. The new design of sunglasses, bags, jackets and shoes are inspired by rock stars. And metal features are a must.

SMARTWATCH

Untitled design (1)

A mix of metal and other materials for the amazing smartwatches sponsored by Apple, Samsung, Sony and other leading companies in the electronic field.

Do not  forget that Shanghai Metal Corporation provides you with a great selection metals such as aluminum, copper, steel and so on. Great quality and competitive prices are our guidelines in order to satisfy clients from all over the world. Visit our website to learn more about our business and products and do not hesitate to contact us.

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Stefano // SMC Editor