Monthly Archives: June 2012

Capture the Carbon Dioxide

 Capture the Carbon Dioxide
 
In nature, photosynthesis uses the energy in sunlight to split water into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. A typical plant cell relies on a series of electron carriers, which create a photosynthetic circuit that allows plants to capture the carbon dioxide they need, and then convert it into the biomass that fuels cell growth. At the same time, plants produce hydrogen, a molecule that can be used in a variety of renewable and sustainable fuel technologies, but that is also expensive to produce in large quantities and currently involves non-renewable natural gas reformation.
 
A photosynthetic organism such as green algae tends to use solar energy to generate either fixed carbon or hydrogen—while this is fine for growth, it is not particularly efficient for making greater quantities of hydrogen. Facing this challenge, NREL researchers wondered if they could find ways to boost the hydrogen-making capacity of photosynthesis. They posed a key question: What controls the partitioning of electrons between these two competing metabolic pathways?
 
A team from NREL, along with colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tel Aviv University, set out to answer this question. They hypothesized that they could engineer the process by “rewiring” algae’s catalytic circuits, or pathways. To do so, they would replace the normal hydrogen-producing enzyme, hydrogenase (H2ase), with a ferredoxin and hydrogenase fusion protein. They speculated that inserting this kind of a fusion protein into this reaction path could divert more electrons into hydrogen production and push the algae into making more hydrogen and fixing less carbon dioxide. If successful, this engineered photosynthetic circuit could potentially increase efficiencies and thus bring down the price of hydrogen. In its more than 30-year history of innovation, NREL has been a leader in working with green algae for hydrogen and biofuel production, as well as with finding ways to speed renewable fuels to market to help meet the nation’s clean energy goals. It is this expertise that encouraged MIT’s Iftach Yacoby to partner with NREL, which enabled the researchers to collaborate on technical innovations such as the CdTe-H2ase.
 
During NREL’s work with green algae, the lab’s own Senior Scientist Paul King and other researchers worked with hydrogenase enzymes as a key component of the photosynthetic hydrogen production equation. These biological catalysts can convert electrons and protons into hydrogen gas, or convert hydrogen into electrons and protons. For this work, the team chose to use in vitro tests under anaerobic conditions. They were able to demonstrate how the hydrogenase and other enzymes compete to regulate whether algae uses the solar energy it captures through photosynthesis to produce carbon compounds or hydrogen. As they studied these interactions, they were able to devise a procedure to engineer the proteins that compose electron transfer circuits. 
 
The first element of their strategy was based on their hypothesis that they could have more of the electrons go to hydrogen if they altered the composition to replace hydrogenase with a ferredoxin-hydrogenase fusion. In the anaerobic test tubes, the team confirmed that the photosynthetic circuit can switch from capturing carbon dioxide to producing hydrogen by substituting the fusion. The hydrogen production was carried out in the presence of the CO2 fixation enzyme ferredoxin:NADP-oxidoreductase (FNR). This process is a biological model for using solar power to convert water into hydrogen. The basis for this switch was modeled as two new Fd-hydrogenase circuits (boxes 1 and 2, Figure 2), and a reduced level of FNR activity modeled as a third circuit (box 3, Figure 2). 
 
King considered these results promising, because they suggest that fusion is an engineering strategy to improve hydrogen production efficiencies, and might be useful in resolving the biochemical mechanisms that control photosynthetic electron transport circuits and product levels from competing pathways. The next phase, already underway, is to introduce the fusion protein into green algae Chlamydomonas and determine if rewiring can take place to improve hydrogen-production efficiencies. Even though this is only one of a number of variables to consider, this strategy has already signaled an avenue to pursue in the drive to reduce the cost of hydrogen fuel and make it cost-competitive for industry.
 
 
A diagram showing a series of linked boxes with labels for biological compounds, explaining how photosynthetic electrons support carbon dioxide fixation and hydrogen production. Enlarge image

Photosynthetic electron transport pathways that support carbon dioxide fixation and hydrogen production. Light-activated PSII extracts electrons from water and transfers them, while parallel circuits couple Fd to either FNR for carbon dioxide fixation or hydrogenase production.
Credit: Paul King, NREL

A diagram showing another series of linked boxes with labels depicting the engineering of hydrogen-producing enzyme to create a hydrogen production circuit to increase hydrogen during photosynthesis. Enlarge image

Engineering of the hydrogen-producing enzyme to create an Fd-H2ase fusion changes the composition of the hydrogen production circuit to include both direct (box 1) and indirect (box 2) H2 production modes. The CO2 fixation circuit (box 3) remains open, but operates at a reduced level.
Credit: Paul King, NREL
 
 
CCRES special thanks to NREL

NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy operated by the Alliance for Substainable Energy, LLC.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES ( CCRES)

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News and Events by CCRES June 28, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events June 28, 2012

Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects Win 12 R&D 100 Awards

Photo of two men testing equipment in a laboratory.

NREL engineers Jason Woods, left, and Eric Kozubal conduct research on a prototype of DEVAP, which earned an R&D100 award.
Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL
Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects from DOE national laboratories have won 12 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine. The awards are presented annually to recognize exceptional new products, processes, materials, and software developed throughout the world and introduced into the market the previous year. Overall, DOE won 36 awards, including those funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Scientists and engineers from DOE’s national laboratories and facilities received the honors from an independent panel of judges.
There were eight DOE winners for energy efficiency. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) was cited for four projects: NanoSHIELD, a protective coating that can extend the life of costly cutting and boring tools by more than 20%; the robotic hand, which costs approximately 10 times less than similar devices while commanding 10 times more power than other electric systems; the asymmetric rolling mill, which provides a way to efficiently process sheet and plate materials, accelerating the production and availability of low-cost magnesium; and the low-frequency RF plasma source, a low-cost plasma generator for research, development, and production of nanometer scale materials at lower temperatures, faster rates, and with enhanced properties. In addition, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) earned honors for its ultra-fast, large-scale efficient boriding—a thermo-chemical surface hardening process in which boron atoms are diffused into a surface—that can drastically reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve the performance and reliability of machine components. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) won for its desiccant-enhanced evaporative air-conditioning (DEVAP) systems, which cool commercial buildings using a small fraction of the energy used by traditional coolers. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) won for co-developing graphene nanostructures for lithium batteries, in which small quantities of graphene can dramatically improve the performance and power of lithium-ion batteries so batteries last longer and recharge quickly. And, Sandia National Laboratories was honored for the Sandia cooler, technology that significantly reduces the energy needed to cool the processor chips in data centers and large-scale computing environments. See the press releases from ORNL, ANL, NREL, PNNL, and Sandia.
In renewable energy categories, there were four R&D 100 award picks. ANL and several partners developed a novel high-energy and high-power cathode material that is especially suited for use in lithium-ion batteries used in plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) was recognized for its platinum monolayer electrocatalysts for fuel cell cathodes, which have high activity, stability, and durability, while containing only about one-tenth the platinum of conventional catalysts used in fuel cells, significantly reducing overall costs. NREL was tapped for its SJ3 solar cell, which achieves a world-record conversion efficiency of 43.5% with the potential to reach 50% by using a three-layered SJ3 cell to capture different light frequencies, ensuring the best conversion of the energy from photons to electrons. And, Sandia’s microsystems enabled photovoltaics were recognized because the glitter-sized PV cells created using microdesign and microfabrication techniques can be released into a solution and “printed” onto a low-cost substrate. See the press releases from ANL, BNL, NREL, and Sandia.
Since 1963, when R&D Magazine’s annual competition began, DOE has received more than 800 R&D 100 awards in areas such as energy and basic scientific applications. See the DOE Progress Alert, the DOE press release and the complete list of R&D 100 winners.

U.S. and Canada Set Next Phase of Clean Energy Dialogue

The Energy Department and Environment Canada released on June 21 the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan II, outlining the next phase of activities the two countries will undertake to jointly advance clean energy technologies. The new action plan renews U.S. and Canadian commitment to work together to build smart electrical grids, and advance clean energy research and development. Action Plan II places a greater emphasis on energy efficiency to take advantage of the approaches and tools in each country to help facilitate the uptake of energy efficient technologies and practices.
Among the initiatives under Action Plan II will be an initiative to clarify U.S. and Canadian regulatory authorities for deployment of offshore renewable energy and technologies. The plan also calls for new investigations of the potential of power storage technologies. Also, the plan calls for discussions among key Canadian federal departments and provincial governments, the Energy Department, and U.S. national labs regarding options to harmonize data gathering related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure for North America.
President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper established the Clean Energy Dialogue in 2009 to encourage the development of clean energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change in both countries. See the DOE press release and the complete planPDF.

Energy Department, Park Service Announce Clean Cities Partnership

Photo of three park vehicles with signage.

New alternative fuel vehicles at Mammoth Cave National Park display decals acknowledging the Department of Energy-Clean Cities/National Park Service Initiative that provided the vehicles to the park.
Credit: Victor Peek Photography
The Energy Department and the National Park Service announced on June 19 that five national parks around the country will deploy fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles as part of an expanded partnership, helping to protect some of the nation’s most prized natural environments. The Energy Department is providing $1.1 million for the park projects. Each of these national parks is collaborating with at least one of the Energy Department’s Clean Cities coalitions to choose the best clean energy options for its fleet. The parks include Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California; Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado; San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas; and Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
Some of the alternative fuel vehicles are multi-passenger rides devoted to park visitors, and that means even greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The new projects build upon the success of the program launched last year at Grand Teton, Wyoming; Mammoth Cave, Kentucky; and Yellowstone, Wyoming. The parks predict their combined projects will save more than 13,000 equivalent gallons of gasoline, avoid the emission of about 100 tons of greenhouse gases annually, and reach 6.5 million visitors each year. The Energy Department has been working with the National Park Service since 1999 to support the use of clean, renewable and alternative fuels, electric vehicles, and other energy-saving practices to help preserve air quality and promote the use of domestic energy resources in the parks. See the Energy Department press release, the Clean Cities website, and the National Park Service’s Green Parks Plan website.

DOI OKs First Commercial Solar Project on Indian Trust Lands

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) approved on June 21 a 350-megawatt (MW) solar energy project on tribal trust lands of the Moapa Band (Tribe) of Paiute Indians in Clark County, Nevada. The project marks a milestone as the first utility-scale solar project approved for development on tribal lands. The record of decision approves the construction, operation, and maintenance of a low-impact photovoltaic (PV) facility and associated infrastructure on about 2,000 acres of the Tribe’s reservation, located 30 miles north of Las Vegas. The project is expected to generate about 400 jobs at peak construction and 15-20 permanent jobs.
Proposed by K Road Moapa Solar LLC, the project would be built in three phases of 100-150 megawatts each. In addition to PV panel arrays, major project components include a 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to deliver power to the grid and a 12-kV transmission line to the existing Moapa Travel Plaza after Phase 1 is complete. About 12 acres of U.S. public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management would be required for the 500-kV transmission line. The project will generate lease income for the tribe, create new jobs and employment opportunities for tribal members, and connect the existing tribally owned travel plaza to the electrical grid, decreasing its dependence on a diesel-powered generator. To minimize and mitigate potential environmental impacts, a Desert Tortoise translocation plan, a bird and bat Conservation strategy, and a weed management plan will be implemented, and biologists will conduct natural resources monitoring during all surface disturbing activities. See the Interior Department press release.

FERC Approves Final Rule to Integrate Variable Energy Resources

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued on June 21 a final rule that requires transmission providers to offer customers the option of scheduling transmission service at 15-minute intervals instead of one-hour intervals. The rule also requires generators using variable energy resources, such as wind and solar, to provide transmission owners with certain data to support power production forecasting. According to FERC, the ruling will promote more efficient operation of the transmission system amid increasing integration of variable renewable energy resources on the grid. The ruling also benefits electric consumers by ensuring that services are provided at reasonable rates.
The final rule finds that while power production forecasts help transmission providers manage reserves more efficiently, forecasts are only as good as the data on which they rely. By requiring new interconnection customers whose variable energy resources to provide meteorological and operational data to transmission providers forecasting power production, FERC finds that transmission providers will better be able to manage resource variability. The final rule takes effect 12 months after publication in the Federal Register. See the FERC press release.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy | USA.gov

Making the Impossible Possible: From Kennedy’s Moonshot to Solar’s SunShot

By Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Director, SunShot Initiative & Solar Energy Technologies Program
In my two years as the director of the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technologies Program, I have often been accused of being an eternal optimist. I see our nation’s energy challenges as an incredible opportunity—one that has the potential to revolutionize our economy, environment, and national security.
That’s why, back in 2010, we established the SunShot Initiative to decrease the total installed price of solar energy by 75% by 2020. We took our inspiration from President Kennedy’s 1962 “moon shot” speech that set the country on a path to regain the lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. Many thought a manned lunar mission was beyond NASA’s capabilities, but this bold move ultimately united the country when it proved successful.
There were plenty of naysayers when we launched the SunShot Initiative—even within the industry—who said that subsidy-free, cost-competitive solar couldn’t happen in this decade. But we didn’t listen to them. And now—as the price of solar panels decreases and America’s solar energy industry explodes—many of those same naysayers are changing their tune. See the complete post on the Energy Blog.

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Carbon capture and consumption

Carbon capture and consumption

 
 
 

 

Could it Eliminate the Need for Wastewater Aeration?

Algal blooms have always proved a challenge for the water industry. Yet could this organic matter,with the help of wastewater nutrients, be turned into a biofuel and help alleviate fossil fuel shortages? Tom Freyberg investigates the European funded All-Gas project.
First generation biofuels from crops never really bloomed into a fruitful harvest. Opponents criticized using up valuable land to grow crops and fuel the cars of the rich, instead of filling the stomachs of the poor. Second generation biofuels – made from biomass – have proved a lot harder to extract the required fuel and fully crack.
And then along came algae. Unlike first generation biofuels, algae can be grown using land and water not suitable for plant and food production.
Consuming solar energy and reproducing itself, algae generates a type of oil that has a similar molecular structure to petroleum products produced today. As if this wasn’t enough – algae growth also consumes carbon dioxide, a known major greenhouse gas (GHG).
As a result of the apparent benefits the race is on to commercialize second and now third generation biofuels, in the case of algae. Continents and companies are putting money where their mouths are to find out how what we thought was simply a green weed growing in the sea could be the answer to inevitable fossil fuel shortages.

 
Algal culture ponds are used to grow and harvest micro-algae using nutrients contained in wastewater

 

Earlier this year US President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Energy would make $14 million available to support research and development into biofuels from algae. The Department has suggested that up to 17% of the US’ imported oil for transportation could be replaced with biofuels derived from the substance.
Meanwhile Europe is going even further and mandating the gradual replacement of fossil fuels to biofuels. An EU Directive stipulates that by 2020 a total of 20% of energy needs should be produced by renewable fuels. A further requirement is that 10% of biofuels need to be met through transport related activities.
Even UK government backed agency the Carbon Trust has forecast that by 2030, algae-based biofuels could replace more than 70 billion litres of fossil fuels used every year around the world in road transportation and aviation.

Nutrients: burden or blessing?

So far, so good. Yet while algae derived biofuels sound like an answer to inevitable fossil fuel shortages, two challenges remain: space and nutrients. The first challenge will be addressed later but on the topic of nutrients, phosphorous and ammonia are required alongside sun light and carbon dioxide to “feed” the algae. And with up to 30% of operating costs at algae farms attributed to buying and adding in such nutrients, it’s a notable expense.
It is in response to this particular challenge where the wastewater sector could play its part, with untreated effluent being a known source of phosphorous and other nutrients. An EU funded project aims to bring together the challenge and solution and link the water and biofuel industries together.
The €12 million, five-year project is starting at water management company aqualia’s wastewater treatment plant in Chiclana, Southern Spain and is backed by the European Union as part of its FP7 program – supporting energy-related projects – with six partners.
Called All-Gas, which translates into algae in Spanish, the project will see “algal culture ponds” being used to grow micro-algae using nutrients contained in wastewater, such as phosphorous. A 10-hectare site will eventually be needed for the project. Frank Rogalla, head of R&D at aqualia, says nutrients are abundant in wastewater, so it makes sense to incorporate the two industries.
Traditionally aeration processes at wastewater treatment plants are heavy energy users, accounting for up to 30% of a facility’s operating costs. In the US, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, drinking water and wastewater systems account for between 3% and 4% of national energy consumption alone.
However, Rogalla later told Water & Wastewater International magazine (WWi) that growing algae with wastewater can eliminate the need for aeration, thus reducing energy use.
He said: “We have converted our treatment to anaeraobic pre-treatment, meaning we will generate biogas from the start instead of destroying organic matter, so no aeration will be needed. From the 0.5 kWh [kilowatt-hour] per m3 which you generally spend for aeration, that will be completely gone. We will have a net output of energy from algae conversion either to oils or to gas. So that’s why you get this positive output of 0.4 kWh per m3 of wastewater treated.”
Rogalla added: “It will not cost more than traditional wastewater treatment, which costs about 0.2 Euros per cubic metre. We think we will use the same operational costs but instead of consuming energy we will produce additional benefit, meaning we generate about 0.2 Euros per cubic metre in additional profit from the fuel. Our aim is to be cost neutral.”
So the question has to be asked of how, technically, can the proposed treatment eliminate the need for wastewater aeration? The answer, as Rogalla later tells WWi, is through the initial conversion to biogas.
Compared to nitrification and dentrification to eliminate nutrients in conventional wastewater treatment, a process Rogalla says consumes about 5 kWh/kg Nitrogen during aeration, All-Gas will use an alternative conversion. Firstly anaerobic pre-treatment will convert most organic matter into biogas (CH4 and CO2). Algae will then take up the nitrogen and phosphorous.

Productive: instead of using traditional nitrification and dentrification processes, organic matter will instead be converted into biogas

 

As the algae will transform most nutrients into biomass, they will also produce O2 in the process, as CO2 is taken up and oxygen released in their metabolic process. As a result, according to Rogalla, aeration is not necessary. Most organic carbon is transformed into energy (via biogas), nutrients are incorporated into algae, which produce oxygen for any polishing action necessary.

An overview of aqualia’s wastewater treatment plant in Chiclana, Southern Spain

 

“It only seems logical to use the wastewater nutrients to grow algae biomass; on the one hand saving the aeration energy, on the other hand the algae fertilizer and cleaning wastewater without the occurrence of useless sludge, but producing biofuels and added value instead,” Rogalla adds.
 
 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy | USA.gov

  and WaterWorld, Industrial WaterWorld

Space challenges

Addressing the second challenge of space requirements to harness algae ponds, for a commercial scale operation it’s estimated that a 10 hectare site is required (roughly 10 football pitches). Yet when compared to the oil yields of other crops, algae still proves favourable.
Data from US-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show that oil yields from soybeans work out at 400 litres/hectare/year, which compares to 6,000 for palm oil and theoretically, a potential 60,000 for microalgae. For barrels/hectare/year, the same comparison yields 2.5 for soybeans, 36 for palm oil and a minimum of 360 for microalgae.
As predictions go, the production of 60,000 litres of biofuel from only one hectare of algae is optimistic compared aqualia’s aims for the Europe project. If a target set by the EU is reached, then each hectare should produce 20,000 litres of biodiesel. This, the firm says, compares to 5000 litres of biofuel per hectare per year for biofuels such as alcohol from sugar cane or biodiesel from palm oil.
The Spanish project also hopes to use produced biogas from the anaerobic pre-treatment and raw wastewater organic matter as car fuel, with each hectare touted to treat about 400 m3 per day.
Statistics to one side, the challenge of space remains. Booming urban populations are expanding closer to rural wastewater treatment plants but at the same communities insist on an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rule when it comes to infrastructure that treats their waste. Rogalla does not think the land issue could impede the development of algae ponds to the majority of wastewater treatment plants. “Algae ponds of course can be put on marginal lands, or even on rooftops,” he adds. “In rural areas extensive oxidation ponds for wastewater treatment are not uncommon, not to mention the often unused land areas as buffer zones around wastewater treatment plants.

Biogas generated from wastewater could mean the 0.5 kWh per m3 usually spent on aeration won’t be required

 

“As we do not claim that all fuel can be made from biofuel on land, but only where possible wastewater should be turned into biofuel (excluding mostly big cities), the land issue seems secondary.”

Carbon capture and consumption

One further benefit that has made algae growth attractive compared to other fuels is its consumption of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), namely CO2, in order to grow. While captured carbon consumed by algae will inevitably be released later when used as a fuel in cars, it could still be a step in the right direction in reducing the impact of a world still firmly grasping CO2 emitting fuel sources.
An article entitled Algal Biofuels: The Process from NREL in a Society for Biological Engineering journal suggests that over two billion tons of CO2 could be captured by growing algae on the space equivalent to the entire U.S. soybean crop of 63.3 million acres.
Power plants and cement kilns appear to be an ideal match for algae growth, then. Yet, in order for All-Gas to attract seven million Euros worth of funding for its project, the CO2 had to come from renewable sources. Any fossil fuel burning plants were not permitted, as Denise Green, manager of biofuels across Europe and Africa from Hart Energy Consulting tells WWi.
“This particular call was restricted to projects in which the carbon dioxide supply for the algae cultivation was provided by renewable applications, excluding carbon dioxide from fossil fuel installations,” she says.
“However I see no reason why future funding for algae projects could not be provided for research into algae as part of the solution for CO2 capture for zero emission power generation. If there are objections to using algae from fossil fuel installations for transportation fuels, there are other industries for which algae can be used where this may not be an issue.”

 

Project roll out and commercialisation

The project will be implemented in two stages, with a prototype facility being used to confirm the scale of the full-size plant during the first two years. Once the concept has been proven in full-scale ponds, a 10 hectare site will be developed and operated at commercial scale during the next three years.
Rogalla suggests the project could be rolled out among aqualia’s existing facilities along the Mediterranean belt, including Italy, Portugal, Egypt and even South America, all of which have “favourable conditions, meaning the climate is advantageous and the land is available”.
Clearly, the conversion of algae to fuel is possible and has been demonstrated on a laboratory scale. It could hold the potential to turn a new leaf for biofuels haunted by their unsuccessful and much criticized first generation brothers. The real interest for the water sector should be the pipe dream of the project to eliminate aeration and turn existing wastewater treatment facilities into biofuel production centres.
The pivotal outcome of the project will be cost. This was proved in the well documented closure of the US Department of Energy’s algae research programme in 1996 after nearly 20 years of work. At the time it was estimated that the $40-60/bbl cost of producing algal oil just couldn’t compete with petroleum for the foreseeable future.
However, it is the additional methane extracted from raw wastewater and algae residue that differentiates this project. It’s not just reliant upon biodiesel produced from the algae. All-Gas has the chance to spearhead Europe into proving that algae biofuel, through the help of wastewater, could eventually be more competitive on a per barrel price with traditional oil.
 
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Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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Tiny Green Factories

Tiny Green Factories

 
 
 
New ways to turn photosynthetic green algae into tiny “green factories” for producing raw materials for alternative fuels.
 
Overturning two long-held misconceptions about oil production in algae, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory show that ramping up the microbes’ overall metabolism by feeding them more carbon increases oil production as the organisms continue to grow. The findings — published online in the journal Plant and Cell Physiology on May 28, 2012 — may point to new ways to turn photosynthetic green algae into tiny “green factories” for producing raw materials for alternative fuels.

“We are interested in algae because they grow very quickly and can efficiently convert carbon dioxide into carbon-chain molecules like starch and oils,” said Brookhaven biologist Changcheng Xu, the paper’s lead author. With eight times the energy density of starch, algal oil in particular could be an ideal raw material for making biodiesel and other renewable fuels.

But there have been some problems turning microscopic algae into oil producing factories.

For one thing, when the tiny microbes take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, they preferentially convert the carbon into starch rather than oils. “Normally, algae produce very little oil,” Xu said.

Before the current research, the only way scientists knew to tip the balance in favor of oil production was to starve the algae of certain key nutrients, like nitrogen. Oil output would increase, but the algae would stop growing — not ideal conditions for continuous production.

Another issue was that scientists didn’t know much about the details of oil biochemistry in algae. “Much of what we thought we knew was inferred from studies performed on higher plants,” said Brookhaven biochemist John Shanklin, a co-author who’s conducted extensive research on plant oil production. Recent studies have hinted at big differences between the microbial algae and their more complex photosynthetic relatives.

“Our goal was to learn all we could about the factors that contribute to oil production in algae, including those that control metabolic switching between starch and oil, to see if we could shift the balance to oil production without stopping algae growth,” Xu said.

The scientists grew cultures of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii — the “fruit fly” of algae — under a variety of nutrient conditions, with and without inhibitors that would limit specific biochemical pathways. They also studied a mutant Chlamydomonas that lacks the capacity to make starch. By comparing how much oil accumulated over time in the two strains across the various conditions, they were able to learn why carbon preferentially partitions into starch rather than oil, and how to affect the process.

The main finding was that feeding the algae more carbon (in the form of acetate) quickly maxed out the production of starch to the point that any additional carbon was channeled into high-gear oil production. And, most significantly, under the excess carbon condition and without nutrient deprivation, the microbes kept growing while producing oil.

“This overturns the previously held dogma that algae growth and increased oil production are mutually exclusive,” Xu said.

The detailed studies, conducted mainly by Brookhaven research associates Jilian Fan and Chengshi Yan, showed that the amount of carbon was the key factor determining how much oil was produced: more carbon resulted in more oil; less carbon limited production. This was another surprise because a lot of approaches for increasing oil production have focused on the role of enzymes involved in producing fatty acids and oils. In this study, inhibiting enzyme production had little effect on oil output.

“This is an example of a substantial difference between algae and higher plants,” said Shanklin.

In plants, the enzymes directly involved in the oil biosynthetic pathway are the limiting factors in oil production. In algae, the limiting step is not in the oil biosynthesis itself, but further back in central metabolism.

This is not all that different from what we see in human metabolism, Xu points out: Eating more carbon-rich carbohydrates pushes our metabolism to increase oil (fat) production and storage.

“It’s kind of surprising that, in some ways, we’re more like algae than higher plants are,” Xu said, noting that scientists in other fields may be interested in the details of metabolic switching uncovered by this research.

But the next step for the Brookhaven team will be to look more closely at the differences in carbon partitioning in algae and plants. This part of the work will be led by co-author Jorg Schwender, an expert in metabolic flux studies. The team will also work to translate what they’ve learned in a model algal species into information that can help increase the yield of commercial algal strains for the production of raw materials for biofuels.

This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science and the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

 
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Brookhaven National Laboratory
 
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News and Events by CCRES June 21, 2012

News and Events by CCRES June 21, 2012

 

 

 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events June 21, 2012

 

SunShot Initiative Investments and Solar Contest Announced

Photo of two workers installing a solar panel on a rooftop.

DOE’s SunShot Initiative has a new competition and investments making it easier and less expensive to deploy solar energy technologies.
Credit: Craig Miller Productions
As part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, the department announced on June 13 a new competition and investments to make it easier and less expensive to deploy solar energy technologies. The department is launching “America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar” competition to aggressively drive down the cost of rooftop solar energy systems. It also is awarding nearly $8 million to nine small businesses to lower the cost of financing, permitting, and other “soft costs,” which can amount to nearly half the cost of residential solar systems. To spur the use of low-cost residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems across the nation, the department is launching America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar competition to challenge U.S. teams to quickly lower the cost of installed rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The competition offers a total of $10 million in prize money to the first three U.S. teams that can install 5,000 rooftop solar PV systems at an average price of $2 per watt. By setting an ambitious target, the competition aims to spur creative public-private partnerships, original business models, and innovative approaches to make solar energy affordable for millions of families and businesses. See the America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar competition Web page.
The Energy Department also awarded up to $8 million to support nine highly innovative startups in four states through the SunShot Incubator program. These companies, in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, are developing transformative solutions to streamline solar installation processes such as financing, permitting, and inspection. See the list of projectsPDF.
The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Inspired by President Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” program that put the first man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative has created new momentum for the solar industry by highlighting the need for American competitiveness in the clean energy race. See the DOE press release, and the SunShot Initiative website.
 

 

Energy Department Awards Funding for Concentrating Solar Power

The Energy Department announced on June 13 its new investments in 21 projects designed to further advance cutting-edge concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The $56 million in awards span three years, subject to congressional appropriations, and cover 13 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. As part of the planned three-year initiative, Congress appropriated an initial $16.3 million in fiscal year 2011. The Energy Department plans to made additional requests totaling $39.7 million in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to support these CSP projects.
The research projects—conducted in partnership with private industry, national laboratories, and universities—support the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar power cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. For example, DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories will develop a falling particle receiver and heat exchanger system to increase efficiency and lower costs.
The awards will help speed innovations in new components to lower costs, increase operating temperatures, and improve the efficiency of CSP systems. The 3-year applied research projects will focus on achieving dramatic improvements in CSP performance while driving progress toward the SunShot goal of 75% cost reduction. CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight to produce heat, which is then used to produce electricity. CSP systems are distinguished from other solar energy technologies by their ability to store energy as heat so that consumer demand can be met even when the sun is not shining, including during the night. See the DOE press release, the complete list of awardsPDF, and the SunShot Initiative website.
 

 

Six New Partners Join the Better Buildings Challenge

The Obama Administration announced on June 14 that six major U.S. companies are joining the Better Buildings Challenge, which encourages private sector leaders across the country to commit to reducing the energy use in their facilities by at least 20% by 2020. Starbucks Coffee Company, Staples, and the J.R. Simplot Company will upgrade more than 50 million square feet of combined commercial building space, including 15 manufacturing facilities. Financial allies Samas Capital and Greenwood Energy will make $200 million in financing available for energy efficiency upgrades through this national leadership initiative. And utility partner Pacific Gas and Electric has committed to offering expanded energy efficiency programs for its commercial customers, who are responsible for 30 million square feet of commercial building space.
The Better Buildings Challenge is part of a comprehensive strategy to improve the competitiveness of U.S. industry and business by helping companies save money by and reducing energy waste in commercial and industrial buildings. Under the challenge, private sector CEOs, university presidents, and state and local leaders commit to taking aggressive steps to reducing energy use in their facilities and sharing data and best practices with others around the country. With the addition of today’s partners and allies, nearly 70 organizations have now joined the Better Buildings Challenge. Together, these organizations account for more than 1.7 billion square feet of building space, including more than 300 manufacturing plants, and they have committed almost $2 billion to support energy efficiency improvements nationwide. See the DOE press release and the Better Buildings Challenge website.
 

 

Northwestern University Wins Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

The Energy Department announced on June 14 that NuMat Technologies from Northwestern University has won the first DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. The other finalists included teams from the University of Utah, University of Central Florida, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Columbia University. The competition aims to inspire university teams across the country and promote entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies that will boost American competitiveness, bringing cutting-edge clean energy solutions to the market and strengthening our economic prosperity.
NuMat Technologies presented a plan to commercialize a nanomaterial that stores gases at lower pressure, reducing infrastructure costs and increasing design flexibility. One potential application for this innovation is in designing tanks to store natural gas more efficiently in motor vehicles. NuMat Technologies won based on its commercialization idea, go-to market strategy, team plan, environmental benefits, and potential impact on America’s clean energy economy. As the winning team, Northwestern University was awarded $180,000, which includes seed money for their business plan and additional prizes from sponsors, including technical, design, and legal assistance.
Six teams were invited to present their business ideas to a group of judges from industry and academia after successfully winning at regional level competitions earlier this year. Each team created a business plan around a promising clean energy technology they identified from a university or national lab. The plans detailed how they could bring that technology to market, including financing, product design, scaling up production, and marketing. Funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the university-led competition supports the next generation of energy leaders, who will boost American competitiveness. See the DOE press release.
 

 

New Centers for Building Operations Excellence Named

The Energy Department and the U.S. Department of Commerce on June 19 announced selections for three Centers for Building Operations Excellence that will receive a total of $1.3 million. The centers will create and deploy programs aimed at training and expanding current and incoming building operators. The Centers are part of the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative, which is working to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial buildings 20% by 2020 and potentially reduce business’ energy bills by approximately $40 billion yearly.
The three Centers for Building Operations Excellence will work with universities, local community and technical colleges, trade associations, and the Energy Department’s national laboratories to build training programs that provide commercial building professionals with the critical skills they need to optimize building efficiency. The DOE and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technologies’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership are jointly funding the centers. The centers, chosen through a competitive grants process, utilize multi-organization partnerships and support from local and state governments. The centers are: The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence in California, partnering with Laney College and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39; the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center in Pennsylvania, partnering with Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and Drexel University; and the New York State Department of Economic Development in New York, partnering with City University of New York and Rochester Institute of Technology. See the DOE press release and the Better Buildings Initiative website.
 

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy | USA.gov 

Reports: $257 Billion Invested Globally in Renewable Energy in 2011

Total investment in renewable power and fuels last year increased by 17% to a record $257 billion, according to two new reports on renewable energy trends by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 is the fifth edition of the UNEP report. It is based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Among the highlights is the fact that solar power generation passed wind power to become the renewable energy technology of choice for global investors in 2011. See the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 reportPDF.
According to the REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report, renewables continued to grow strongly in 2011 in all end-use sectors: power, heating and cooling, and transportation. Renewable sources have grown to supply 16.7% of global energy consumption. Of that, the share provided by traditional biomass has declined slightly while the share sourced from modern renewable technologies has risen. See the REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status reportPDF.
In 2011, the United States closed the gap with China at the top of the renewables investment rankings. U.S. investments grew 57% to $51 billion. China, which has led the world for two years, recorded renewable energy investment of $52 billion, up 17%. The top seven countries for renewable electricity capacity excluding large hydropower—China, the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, India, and Japan—accounted for about 70% of total non-hydro renewable capacity worldwide. By the end of 2011, total renewable power capacity worldwide exceeded 1,360 gigawatts (GW), up 8% over 2010; renewables comprised more than 25% of total global power-generating capacity (estimated at 5,360 GW in 2011) and supplied an estimated 20.3% of global electricity. See the UNEP press release.
 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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Way to Create Biofuels

Way to Create Biofuels

 

Way to Create Biofuels

 
Is there a new path to biofuels hiding in a handful of dirt? 
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) biologist Steve Singer leads a group that wants to find out. They’re exploring whether a common soil bacterium can be engineered to produce liquid transportation fuels much more efficiently than the ways in which advanced biofuels are made today.

The scientists are working with a bacterium called Ralstonia eutropha. It naturally uses hydrogen as an energy source to convert CO2 into various organic compounds.

The group hopes to capitalize on the bacteria’s capabilities and tweak it to produce advanced biofuels that are drop-in replacements for diesel and jet fuel. The process would be powered only by hydrogen and electricity from renewable sources such as solar or wind.

The goal is a biofuel—or electrofuel, as this new approach is called—that doesn’t require photosynthesis.

Why is this important? Most methods used to produce advanced biofuels, such as from biomass and algae, rely on photosynthesis. But it turns out that photosynthesis isn’t very efficient when it comes to making biofuel. Energy is lost as photons from the sun are converted to stored chemical energy in a plant, which is then converted to a fuel.

“We’re after a more direct way,” says Singer, who holds appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a multi-institutional partnership led by Berkeley Lab.

“We want to bypass photosynthesis by using a microbe that uses hydrogen and electricity to convert CO2 into a fuel,” he adds.

Widespread use of electrofuels would also reduce demands for land, water, and fertilizer that are traditionally required to produce biofuels.

Berkeley Lab’s $3.4 million electrofuel project was funded in 2010 by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, which focuses on “high risk, high payoff concepts—technologies promising genuine transformation in the ways we generate, store and utilize energy.”

That pretty much describes electrofuels. ARPA-E estimates the technology has the potential to be ten times more efficient than current biofuel production methods. But electrofuels are currently confined to lab-scale tests. A lot of obstacles must be overcome before you’ll see it at the pump.

Fortunately, research is underway. The Berkeley Lab project is one of thirteen electrofuel projects sponsored by ARPA-E. And earlier this year, ARPA-E issued a request for information focused on the commercialization of the technology.

Singer’s group includes scientists from Virginia-based Logos Technologies and the University of California at Berkeley. The project’s co-principal investigators are Harry Beller, Swapnil Chhabra, and Nathan Hillson, who are also with Berkeley Lab and JBEI; Chris Chang, a UC Berkeley chemist and a faculty scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division; and Dan MacEachran of Logos Technologies.

The scientists chose to work with R. eutropha because the bacterium is well understood and it’s already used industrially to make bioplastics.

They’re creating engineered strains of the bacterium at JBEI, all aimed at improving its ability to produce hydrocarbons. This work involves re-routing metabolic pathways in the bacteria. It also involves adding pathways from other microorganisms, such as a pathway engineered in Escherichia coli to produce medium-chain methyl ketones, which are naturally occurring compounds that have cetane numbers similar to those of typical diesel fuel.

The group is also pursuing two parallel paths to further boost production.

In the first approach, Logos Technologies is developing a two-liter bioelectrochemical reactor, which is a conventional fermentation vessel fitted with electrodes. The vessel starts with a mixture of bacteria, CO2, and water. Electricity splits the water into oxygen and hydrogen. The bacteria then use energy from the hydrogen to wrest carbon from CO2 and convert it to hydrocarbons, which migrate to the water’s surface. The scientists hope to skim the first batch of biofuel from the bioreactor in about one year.

In the second approach, the scientists want to transform the bacteria into self-reliant, biofuel-making machines. With help from Chris Chang, they’re developing ways to tether electrocatalysts to the bacteria’s surface. These catalysts use electricity to generate hydrogen in the presence of water.

The idea is to give the bacteria the ability to produce much of their own energy source. If the approach works, the only ingredients the bacteria will need to produce biofuel would be CO2, electricity, and water.

The scientists are now developing ways to attach these catalysts to electrodes and to the surface of the bacteria.

“We’re at the proof-of-principle stage in many ways with this research, but the concept has a lot of potential, so we’re eager to see where we can take this,” says Singer.

 
CCRES
 special thanks to 
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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EE & RES ASSISTENCE PROGRAM

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES provides green career seekers with the guidance, motivation, and direction they need to uncover their passions and plug into the green economy quickly and efficiently.

CROATIAN CENTER OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

EE & RES ASSISTENCE PROGRAM

 
 
EE & RES ASSISTENCE PROGRAM
 
 
Croatia – Zagreb
Event date: from 16 June 2012 to 23 June 2012
Do you want to learn more about renewable energy but don’t know where to start?
Our interactive learning center provides a comprehensive overview so that you can quickly gain a basic understanding of the major renewable energy technologies and concepts. From high level concepts to a deeper understanding of renewable energy and related technologies, browse through the learning center to broaden your understanding of these rapidly evolving sectors.
 
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES provides green career seekers with the guidance, motivation, and direction they need to uncover their passions and plug into the green economy quickly and efficiently.
Our resource area, community, and coaching options enable you to:
  • Make more progress, more quickly with…

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The Lemnaceae

 
The Lemnaceae, commonly known as duckweeds, are the smallest, fastest growing and simplest of flowering plants. Some of the current uses of Lemnaceae are a testimony to its utility: basic research and evolutionary model system, toxicity testing organism, biotech protein factory, wastewater remediator, high-protein animal feed, and carbon cycling participant. Sequencing of the Greater Duckweed, Spirodela polyrhiza (L.) Schleiden, which has a genome size similar to that of Arabidopsis (150 MB), will address challenges in alternative energy, bioremediation, and global carbon cycling. 
 
duckweed in a flask
Duckweed photo courtesy Todd Michael.
 
With the passage of the 2005 Federal Energy legislation, the drive to develop sustainable feedstocks and processing protocols for biofuel production has intensified. The search for new biomass species has revealed the potential of Lemnaceae species. These plants produce biomass faster than any other flowering plant. The carbohydrate content of the plant material also indicates a potential for ethanol production. Moreover, the carbohydrate in duckweed biomass is readily converted to fermentable sugars by using commercially available enzymes developed for corn-based ethanol production.
The utility of Lemnaceae species for bioremediation has long been recognized as well. Propagated on agricultural and municipal wastewater, Spirodela and related species efficiently extract excess nitrogen and phosphate pollutants. Duckweed growth on ponds effectively reduces algal growth (by shading), coliform bacterial counts, suspended solids, evaporation, biological oxygen demand, and mosquito larvae while maintaining pH, concentrating heavy metals, sequestering or degrading halogenated organic and phenolic compounds, and encouraging the growth of other aquatic animals such as frogs and fowl.
A better understanding of Lemnaceae species could also reveal the potential for their role in the global carbon cycle. Primitive aquatic plants have been implicated as the primary source of carbon sequestration that drove global climate change during the Early Eocene. The S. polyrhiza genome sequence could unlock the remarkable potential of a rapidly growing aquatic plant for carbon sequestration, carbon cycling, and biofuel production.
 
CCRES ALGAE
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Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES June 07, 2012

 

 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events June 07, 2012

DOE to Launch an Energy Innovation Hub for Critical Materials Research

The Energy Department announced on May 31 its plans to invest up to $120 million over five years in a new Energy Innovation Hub that will identify problems and develop solutions across the lifecycle of critical materials. Rare earth elements and other critical materials have unique chemical and physical characteristics—including magnetic, catalytic, and luminescent properties—that are important for a growing number of energy technologies. These critical materials are also at risk for supply disruptions. The new hub, funded by up to $20 million in Fiscal Year 2012, will carry out research aimed both at having a reliable U.S. supply of rare earths and other critical materials, as well as finding efficiencies and alternatives that reduce the amount of critical materials that are needed. The work will aim to advance U.S. leadership in energy-related manufacturing, including the production of electric vehicles, wind turbines, efficient lights, and other products.
Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form partnerships when submitting their proposals. The award selection is expected this fall. This will be the fifth Energy Innovation Hub established by the Energy Department since 2010. See the Energy Department press release, the Energy Innovation Hubs website, and the funding opportunity announcement.
 

Administration Backs a $26 Million Competition for Advanced Manufacturing

The Obama Administration announced on May 29 a $26 million multi-agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to foster innovation-fueled job creation through public-private partnerships. The challenge will support projects that aim to help grow a region’s industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets; enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs; develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce; increase exports; encourage the development of small businesses; and accelerate technological innovation.
This is the third round of the Jobs Accelerator competition, which is being funded by the Energy Department; the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology; the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; the Small Business Administration; and the National Science Foundation. In this round, approximately 12 projects are expected to be chosen through a competitive inter-agency grant process. These coordinated investments will help catalyze and leverage private capital, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and promote cluster-based development in regions across the United States. The deadline for applications is July 9, 2012. See the interagency press release, the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge webpage on Manufacturing.gov, and the grant opportunity on Grants.gov.
 

First Commercial Product Meets Rooftop Air Conditioner Challenge

The Energy Department announced on May 24 that Daikin McQuay’s Rebel rooftop unit system is the first to meet DOE’s Rooftop Unit (RTU) Challenge. Five manufacturers—Daikin McQuay, Carrier, Lennox, 7AC Technologies, and Rheem—are participating in this challenge to commercialize highly efficient commercial air conditioners that satisfy a DOE-issued specification for energy savings and performance. When built to meet the specification, these units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50%, relative to units built to current standards. Nationwide, if all 10- to 20-ton RTUs met the specification, businesses would save more than $1 billion each year in energy costs. The five companies have until April 1, 2013, to submit a product for independent evaluation according to the specification.
Manufacturers nationwide have a strong motivation to produce highly energy-efficient air conditioning units for commercial buildings. Members in DOE’s Commercial Buildings Energy Alliances (CBEA), such as Target, Walmart, and other participating commercial building owners have expressed an interest in equipment that meets the new energy efficiency specification at an affordable price. The Energy Department is evaluating potential demonstration sites for high-performing products that meet the RTU Challenge and is also developing analytical tools that enable businesses to more accurately estimate the energy and cost savings of using high-performance RTUs in their facilities. The specification for the RTU Challenge, aimed at spurring the market introduction of cost-effective, high-performance commercial RTU air conditioners, was developed by DOE technical experts and informed by industry partners. See the Energy Department’s Progress Alert and the CBEA webpage.
 

Energy Department Names Finalists for the Better Buildings Federal Award

Photo of a large building complex that includes a high-rise tower.

The Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of eight finalists for the Energy Department’s first annual Better Buildings Federal Award.
Credit: FEMP
The Energy Department announced on May 30 eight finalists for the first-annual Better Buildings Federal Award. This competition recognizes the federal government’s highest-performing buildings and challenges agencies to achieve the greatest reduction in annual energy intensity, the amount of energy consumed per square foot. The federal building that achieves the greatest energy savings over a one-year competition period wins.
The finalists, which represent a range of building types, sizes, and agency functions, were selected based upon past and current sustainability efforts that demonstrate leadership and promote ongoing energy savings. They include buildings in Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Texas, and West Virginia. When selecting finalists, the Department’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) considered energy efficiency measures deployed in the facility, best practices in energy management and building operations undertaken by facility personnel, and institutional change programs and other tools that were used to encourage broad sustainability efforts within the facility. From now until September 30, 2012, the selected finalists will compete in a head-to-head competition to achieve the greatest reduction in Fiscal Year 2012 energy intensity. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the Better Buildings Federal Award webpage.
 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy | USA.gov

The Clean Energy Economy is Creating Jobs

The clean energy economy is here, and creating jobs all across the country. In fact, some may even be in your neighborhood.
Recently, Environmental Entrepreneurs reported 137 clean energy job announcements that could create 46,000 jobs in 42 states. From manufacturing plants, to power generation projects, to energy efficient retrofits, more than 126 companies, cities, and organizations are creating jobs across this great land. From Atlanta to Michigan to Arizona, workers are finding jobs in the clean energy field.
In Atlanta a new streetcar will increase mobility for citizens traveling between downtown and the greater Atlanta region. This project will create almost 1,000 construction jobs alone. In Madison County, Indiana, just outside Indianapolis, a 200-megawatt wind farm is being built. Besides generating electricity for up to 60,000 homes, more than 300 workers have been hired to help build the farm. Read the complete story on the Energy Blog.
 

#askEnergy: Live Twitter Chat with A Solar Expert

What do you want to know about solar energy? Now is your opportunity to ask.
This Friday, June 8, at 2 p.m. EDT we are hosting a live Solar Twitter Chat. The discussion will be lead by R. Ramesh—our resident solar expert and director of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative. To participate, send your questions and comments using #askEnergy.
Whether you want to know the pros and cons of cadmium telluride or how solar panels work—no question is too basic or complex. And, if you have an idea for, let’s say, making solar energy more accessible to American families and businesses—share it with us during the discussion. To learn more, including ways to participate using email or Facebook, see the Energy Blog.
 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

 
 
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HAPPY WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY!

We love Earth !!

ECOCRED

Image

….. make your every action count and remember that everyday is World Environment Day!

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