EGEB: Qatar builds a solar farm that will meet 1/10th of its energy needs

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Qatar to build an 800 MW solar farm with Total and Marubeni.
  • A Tokyo University of Science team are developing potassium-driven rechargeable batteries.
  • Cleantech Group announces its Global Cleantech 100, the companies most likely to make an impact.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Solar in Qatar

Qatar, the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, is building an 800 MW solar farm on 10 sq km near Doha with France’s Total and Japan’s Marubeni. The country’s energy minister, Saad al-Kaabi, made the announcement on Sunday at a press conference. Qatar’s Siraj Energy will hold a 60% stake. The other 40% will be owned by Marubeni and Total.

The Al Kharsaah project will cost $467 million. Half of the plant is expected to be in operation by the first quarter of 2021 and will be running at full capacity by the first quarter of 2022.

According to Al Jazeera, Kaabi said:

It will generate about eight times the size of the solar energy Qatar had pledged to build, helping the organization of a carbon-neutral [FIFA World Cup] event.

The solar farm will meet one-tenth of the country’s peak energy demands, said Kaabi, who also said more solar projects are planned.

Dr. Veronica Bermudez, senior research director and energy center director at Qatar Environment and Energy Institute (QEERI) said in October on Business Insider about Qatar’s solar energy storage:

Although solar is more environmentally sustainable than electricity produced from gas fired turbines, we have to worry about excess capacity and what to do about that. Solving the puzzle of where and how to fit renewables into the energy mix in Qatar is one of our biggest challenges.

Potassium-driven rechargeable batteries

A team from the Tokyo University of Science are working on an alternative to lithium-ion batteries — ion batteries driven by potassium and sodium (KIBs). As the university’s website explains:

Sodium and potassium are in the same alkali metal group in the periodic table of elements, and their chemical natures are, therefore, quite similar. But, unlike lithium, these elements are widely abundant on earth, and using them to develop high-performance rechargeable batteries would be a breakthrough toward creating a more sustainable society.

Rechargeable batteries are necessary to support and grow green energy. Alternatives to lithium-ion batteries are necessary, as lithium supply is limited.

Further research is needed about the safety and other aspects of KIBs. Professor Shinichi Komaba, who leads the Tokyo University of Science team, said:

Research on KIBs, including electrode materials, non-aqueous/solid electrolytes, and additives will provide new insights into the electrode reactions and solid ionics, opening up new strategies that would allow for the creation of next-generation batteries.

See the video explainer about this new development of battery below:

The 2020 Global CleanTech 100

Cleantech Group, which supports the development and marketability of clean technologies, has released its annual report, “Global Cleantech 100: Leading Companies and Themes in Sustainable Innovation,” which highlights the top 100 private cleantech companies expected to make the most significant market impact over the next five to 10 years.

The following sectors are included in the report: energy and power, agriculture and food, transportation and logistics, natural resources and environment, enabling technologies, and materials and chemicals. Nominations come from five sources, and the companies are selected by an expert panel of 80 investor and multinational corporation representatives.

Geographically, 63 companies are located in North America, 29 are in Europe and Israel, six are in Asia Pacific, and two are in Africa. The scale of total investment is more than $7.4 billion.

Jules Besnainou, director of Cleantech Group, says in the report to keep an eye on four macro trends:

  1. Increased public pressure to act on the climate crisis
  2. The pursuit of impact/net-zero
  3. Value chain cooperation
  4. The changing composition of global participation

To download the report, which provides a fascinating list of the cleantech companies selected, click here.

Photo: Qatar Foundation

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.