The Technology Show

The Technology Show is a half hour podcast aimed at highlighting the latest in clean tech breakthroughs, climate science, and renewable energy solutions. It is recorded weekly at 3CR radio in Melbourne on Friday Morning at 8:30 am and syndicated around Australia on the community radio network.
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Feel free to get in touch with us at radioteam@bze.org.au
Follow us on twitter @bzetechshow and explore the full list of shows categorized by their content.

Climate Politics
Climate Science
Concentrated Solar Thermal
Commercial Energy Efficiency
Energy Storage
Electric Vehicles
Geothermal Energy
Grid Management
Passive Solar Design
Residential Energy Efficiency
Solar Photo Voltaic
Sustainable Urban Design
Transport
Wave Energy
Wind Energy

Prof Andrew Blakers

From Stars to the Sun

Professor Andrew Blakers is a professor engineering at the Australian National University. He works in the area of photovoltaics. His original goal was to be an astronomer studying Maths and Physics but while bushwalking  he was struck by so many places under threat - and that was as far back as the 70s!

He believes Australia receives thousands of times more solar energy than all the fossil fuels combined so why not be involved in solar and wind? He is a member of ARENA but fears the organisation, with the present political situation may lose the capacity to award grants. 

An interesting account of Andrew's life and work can be accessed on the ABC's Conversation Hour (13/6) and more details on the usual BZE podcast which mentions sliver, PERC technologies and silicon with its non-toxic properties. 

He has no doubt that Australia could become 100% renewable before long - and that is not just "pie in the sky"!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: Wind and solar PV have won the race – it’s too late for other clean energy technologies

More articels at The Conversation

Chris Cooper

SunCrowd - the home battery movement from SunCrowd on Vimeo.

SunCrowd is Australia’s first bulk-buy for solar storage solutions. Let’s use our bulk purchasing power to make batteries affordable!  Join the movement at www.suncrowd.com.au

 

An entrepreneur in renewable energy

Chris Cooper is Chief Energy Officer and co-founder of SunCrowd, who are helping communities run local bulk-buy campaigns to make rooftop solar and storage easy and affordable. Chris Cooper became a keen clean energy student whilst at high school studying Economics and Geography and he was encouraged by gaining a Winston Churchill Fellowship scholarship which took him overseas to U.K., U.S. and Europe.  He favoured working for a practical change rather than joining academia and to concentrate in a local area.  To achieve this, he co-founded SunCrowd mainly situated in Shellharbour, Nowra and recently launched in SunCrowd Newcastle, NSW, although he has received calls from places as far afield as Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Melbourne. He finds people are keen for information on dispatch and storage of power.

Specialising on local communities seems to resonate with Germany where ownership of power has been returned to local communities. And of course in Australia with the development of rooftop solar despite the drop in feed-in tariffs. At the same time he has found problems in achieving grants and government funding and has found ARENA rather bureaucratic compared with the US which has provided millions in Government grants. ARENA seems to favour large organisations such as AGL.  Hopefully he says his submissions will change this but there is certainly room for that considering the present Prime Minister speaks regularly of "innovation"!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Tim Forcey: 22 ways to cut your energy bills

How to save money on power bills

This is a headline which should be of interest to everyone!

Beyond Zero's Kay and Michael speaks to Tim Forcey, Energy Advisor, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne talks about 22 things you can do to improve your home’s energy performance. And how to reach the ultimate goal of a home heated and powered by 100% renewable electricity. 

My Efficient Electric Home fb group - join us!

Tim has ideas on 22 ways of cutting power bills  and 38% off electricity and gas.  He said there is no economic reason for connection to the gas grid as gas has increased in price 75% over the last  5 years!  To make the production and usage of hot water  go further it is preferable to consider heat pumps and those with smart meters would find it simpler to trace one's usage regularly. It is possible to do this on line for the clever ones (my expression!)

But first on the list is to install LED lights  and thereby  using less power without heating and these are of course now being offered free of  charge. Next it is also a good idea  to ring retailers  to request what discounts are available ot to  threaten to switch if dissatisfied!

But before getting too technical adequate insulation is important  particularly hot water pipes and pressure release valves and a commonsense approach e.g. checking for draughts from old fireplaces and vents and the installatiom of old fashioned drapes and pelmets

Michael raised the question of showerheads which Tim said need not be either giving a satisfying shower or be saving hot water but could be both and if not satisfied could be returned! And that green power is provided by most retailers not only Powershop.

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: 22 ways to cut your energy bills (before spending on solar panels)

Presentation: Tim Forcey: How to cheaply and comfortably heat your home with renewable energy

Clay Collier

Clay Collier is serial entrepenur and Co-Founder of Kisensum, a Californian start-up software company dedicated to enabling the integration of energy storage to the grid. Their project at Los Angeles Air Force Base uses software that enables them to integrate energy storage, both mobile (EV's) and stationary to support the grid. Managing the largest vehicle to grid fleet in the world has given Kisensum a unique insight into controlling mobile storage and working with many vendors to complete a complex storage integration project.

Hannah Aulby

Transition from Coal

Hannah Aulby grew up in Tasmania and she said she had an "environmentally aware youth" and her family were interested in environment matters .Since then she has travelled extensively globally, worked with Nick McKim, been Fundraising manager for BZE, Lock the Gate to mention a few. She is now Clean Energy Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

She mentioned the problem of mine rehabilitation where there is a big need for money to be available for mines at the end of their use. For example Hazelwood (Australia's dirtiest coal fired power station) whose owners are "considering" closure with insufficient funds to so. But there are many who merely desert mines and just leave without legal redress. So it seems then the taxpayer would have to foot the bill. There is also a need too for the communities to plan and have some alternative transition to alternative employment. There is of course too much coal in the system at present.

Hannah concluded by reminding listeners of the Forum - Coral, Coal and Climate Change forum on 16th June at Box Hill Town Hall with Lighter Footprints and  ECAM ( Eastern Climate Action Melb.) as joint hosts. Local candidates and politicians to attend with Rod Quantock as M.C. One can only wonder how/if he can make an endangered Great Barrier Reef light hearted!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Dr Helena I. Gomes & Dr Helen Baxter

      

Dr Helena I. Gomes and Dr Helen Baxter from the University of Hull in the UK are researching Vanadium - "the beautiful metal that stores energy".  Vanadium is the key element used in redox flow batteries which can store large amounts of energy almost indefinitely, perfect for remote wind or solar farms. 

Glen Morris

Glen Morris talks about the recent Solar 2016 conference and release of the Battery installation guide by the Energy Storage Council.

Glen Morris is Vice President of Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council and well-known in the industry as an expert on solar systems and battery storage. Glen said he has been interested  in electronics and energy since aged 13, has been and still is a teacher of renewable energy courses throughout Australia. He mentioned that the Australian Solar Council is now unbelievably 55 years old and the oldest in the world. Listeners would be , as this writer was, amazed to hear this fact considering the state of play in this country for the last few decades. 

With the Energy Storage Council he said that because there are no installation standards for the large range of newer battery technologies (such as Lithium), there was a need for the Australian Battery Guide to fill in the gap. This battery guide is not only an installer guide, but also a consumer guide for householder (and they are seeking feedback on it). Of course with the cost of solar products falling and the subsequent rise in availability there is a need for prospective buyers to have information on risk factors and reliability available  - and naturally  concerning storage so that one does not have to find the time to wash the dishes and the washing at midday or, as the previous Prime Minister used to remind everyone that "the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow"!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Check out Glen's other podcasts:

Glen Morris VP Australian Solar Council

Dr Aaswath Raman

Dr Aaswath Raman of Standford University is cofounder of a startup called SkyCool Systems. They are one of several groups commercializing an energy-efficient cooling approach that takes advantage of the coldness of space, based on relatively recent advances in the ability to manipulate light at the nanoscale.

In 2014, Aaswath's group published a paper in Nature in which they showed that a device designed to combine the optical properties of three different materials, arranged in stack of multiple layers, cooled to nearly 5 °C below the ambient air temperature. This proved that “the cold darkness of the Universe” can be used as a renewable resource, “even during the hottest hours of the day,” wrote the researchers.

The Sky may hold the secret to Efficient Air-conditioning

Nature: Passive radiative cooling below ambient air temperature under direct sunlight

Miriam Lyons

Miriam Lyons is Senior Campaigner - Renewable Energy at GetUp! She is co-author (with Nicky Ison) of the new report by GetUp! and Solar Citizens called Homegrown Power Plan, which shows how we can repower Australia's homes and businesses with 100% renewable power by 2030.

Tom Quinn

Tom Quinn on the future of food 

Tom Quinn is Executive Director of the Future Business Council which represents innovative, sustainable and resilient businesses that will define our future economy. He has also worked in the Sustainability area at the  City of Melbourne. Tom joins the Beyond Zero radio team talking about his early upbringing on a farm which he attributes his interest in wildlife and his subsequent choice of occupation. His interests have broadened to include issues such as 'green' buildings, organic food production, health and nutrition, sustainable irrigation and afforestation, to mention a few.

Tom points out that Australia has a "unique opportunity" with the approach of the end of the mining boom in considering "what comes next". He stresses that there are numerous vested interests and lack of bipartisan support which result in "missed opportunities". However, "there are lots of smart people here" in Australia who are able to transform environmentally sustainable ideas into commercially viable projects. One of the important aims for the future is "carbon draw-down", i.e. taking carbon out of the atmosphere. There are many ways to do this, one of which is reforestation.

Tom announced an event on the future of food security in Hobart on 8th June in conjunction with the University of Tasmania Business School, and hopefully engaging with the Tasmanian community on issues of sustainability and productivity.

The Future Business Council has released The Next Boom report which has found compelling evidence that sustainability should not be seen as a cost, but a business opportunity. Tom also talks about the climate policies we would like to see for the upcoming federal election. 

BZE's Michael also mentioned the Coral, Coal and Climate Change forum on 16th June at Box Hill Town Hall which is sponsored by Lighter Footprints, an active local environmental organisation. Comedian Rod Quantock will be present, as well as local and other candidates, including Shadow Environment minister Mark Butler and local member Josh Frydenberg.

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)