Monthly Archives: July 2012

Biomass as an organic renewable energy source

The U.S. Department of Energy has just released this video to educate people on the research, industry and government’s efforts to develop biomass as an organic renewable energy source; employing agriculture and forest residues, energy crops, and algae to take the place of conventional fuels like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

CCRES Algae Team

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News and Events by CCRES July 19, 2012




Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources 

News and Events July 19, 2012


Energy Department Breaks Ground on Turbine Test Facility


The Energy Department joined with Texas Tech University and the department’s Sandia National Laboratories on July 17 to break ground on a new state-of-the-art wind turbine test facility in Lubbock, Texas. Supported by a $2.6 million investment from the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWIFT) facility will be the first public facility of its kind to use multiple wind turbines to measure how wind turbine wakes interact with one another in a wind farm. Scheduled to begin operation later this year, the facility will help wind turbine designers and manufacturers continue to drive down the cost of wind energy by reducing the aerodynamic losses of wind energy plants, enhancing energy capture, and mitigating turbine damage.
Along with the ability to monitor wind plant performance, the SWIFT facility will have additional advanced testing and monitoring capabilities, as well as space for up to ten wind turbines, allowing researchers to examine how larger wind farms can become more productive and collaborative. The facility, which will host both open-source and proprietary research, is the result of a partnership between the department’s Sandia National Laboratories, the Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, Group NIRE, and wind turbine manufacturer Vestas. The site will initially be equipped with two research-scale wind turbines provided by the Energy Department and a third installed by Vestas Technology R&D in Houston. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Wind Program website.


Energy Department Offers Public Review of Savings Protocols


The Energy Department is developing new voluntary procedures that will help standardize how state and local governments, industry, and energy efficiency organizations estimate energy savings. These protocols are being developed by technical experts through collaboration with energy efficiency program administrators, industry stakeholders, and home energy assessors. The department invites stakeholders from the public sector, industry, and academia to participate in an online public review of these new protocols in an effort to estimate energy savings from energy efficiency programs.
The new procedures provide a straightforward method for evaluating potential energy savings in residential and commercial building upgrades offered through ratepayer-funded initiatives. These common energy efficiency upgrades include energy-saving lighting, lighting controls, commercial air conditioning, and residential furnaces and boilers. These voluntary protocols will help energy efficiency program administrators and local governments improve the objectivity, consistency, and transparency of energy savings data; it will also help strengthen consumers’ confidence in the results expected from energy efficiency upgrades. The protocols, being developed under the Uniform Methods Project, are available for review through July 27. See the DOE Progress Alert and the protocols for review.


New ARPA-E Projects to Boost Natural Gas Vehicle Technologies


Photo of large garbage truck parked in a lot.

A refuse truck powered by compressed natural gas in Washington state.
Credit: Western Washington Clean Cities
The Energy Department on July 12 announced $30 million in funding for 13 research projects designed to find new ways of harnessing natural gas supplies for cars and trucks. Researchers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin will work on the initiative. The grants are made through the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). The projects are part of Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy, which aims to engineer lightweight, affordable natural gas tanks for vehicles and develop natural gas compressors that efficiently fuel a natural gas vehicle at home.
Today’s natural gas vehicle technologies require tanks that can withstand high pressures. They are often cumbersome, and are either too large or too expensive to be suitable for smaller passenger vehicles. ARPA-E’s new projects are focused on removing these barriers, which will help encourage the widespread use of natural gas cars and trucks. For example, REL, Inc. in Calumet, Michigan, will receive $3 million to develop an internal “foam core” for natural gas tanks that allows tanks to be formed into any shape. This will enable higher storage capacity than current carbon fiber tanks at one-third the cost.
The projects will also focus on developing natural gas compressors that make it easier for consumers to re-fuel at home. The Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin will use $4 million to develop an at-home natural gas re-fueling system that compresses gas with a single piston. Unlike current four-piston compressors, these highly integrated single-piston systems will use fewer moving parts, leading to a more reliable, lighter, and cost-effective compressor. See the Energy Department press release and the complete list of projects PDF.



  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |


USDA Funds Improved Rural Electric Infrastructures



The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on July 12 that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 15 states will receive $287 million in loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and to implement smart grid technologies. The announcement includes support for more than $10 million in smart grid technologies. This will help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses. With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching a department goal to fund more than $250 million for smart grid technologies.
In Texas, Houston County Electric Cooperative is receiving $9 million to build and improve 421 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 2,000 customers. The loan includes $670,000 in smart grid projects. The loan guarantees are provided by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service. The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain, and replace electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects. See the USDA press release.


Global Clean Energy Spending Rebounds in Second Quarter of 2012


Global clean energy investments increased 24% in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter, with new investment totaling $59.6 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The amount was still 18% below the near-record quarterly figure of $72.5 billion in the second quarter last year.
The United States enjoyed solid gains in investment in the second quarter of 18% over the first quarter, reaching $10.2 billion, the report said. China surged 92% in investment to $18.3 billion in the April-to-June period. Overall, solar accounted for $33.6 billion of investment in the second quarter, up 19% over the first quarter, and wind had $21.6 billion, up 47% quarter to quarter. The largest venture capital and private equity deals of the quarter saw U.S. automaker Fisker clinch $148 million for its plug-in hybrid vehicle development. The figures draw on a comprehensive database of transactions in clean energy worldwide. See the Bloomberg New Energy Finance press release.


California Awards $1.1 Million for Energy Research Projects


The California Energy Commission on July 11 awarded $1.1 million for energy research projects, including a variety impacting renewable energy and energy efficiency. Funds for the 10 projects come from the Commission’s Public Interest Research Project program. Commissioners approved $300,000 to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego in order to better understand differences in regional climate model projections for California and how they impact hydropower generation forecasting.
The remaining nine projects are from PIER’s Energy Innovations Small Grant program. The program provides money to small businesses, non-profits, individuals, and academic institutions to conduct research establishing the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts. These grants are capped at $95,000. Among the projects is a project dealing with small soluble organic molecules designed to increase the lifetime and reliability of photovoltaics, and a study of enhanced cooling towers for cooling buildings. See the California Energy Commission press release.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources  (CCRES)

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CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS)

Everything you wanted to know about
CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), but had no one to ask .
1. What is CCS?

CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) describes a technological process by which the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by large stationary sources – such as coal- fired power plants, steel plants and oil refineries – is prevented from entering the atmosphere.

That’s because it enables at least 90% of these CO2 emissions to be captured, then stored in geological formations – safely and permanently – deep underground (at least 800m). In fact, it uses the same natural trapping mechanisms which have already kept huge volumes of oil, gas and CO2 underground for millions of years.

Currently, all of the CO2 produced by these large stationary sources is released into the atmosphere – directly contributing to global warming.

2. Why is it a critical technology for combating climate change?

CCS is the single biggest lever to combat climate change (compared to, for example, energy efficiency which requires many different actions). In fact, CCS has the potential to address almost half of the world’s current CO2 emissions.

Experts estimate that by 2050, CCS could reduce annual CO2 emissions by 0.6 to 1.7 billion tonnes in the EU and by 9 to 16 billion tonnes worldwide. The upper end of this range would require its application to all fossil fuel power plants and to almost all other large industrial emitters – with the large volumes of hydrogen produced used for transport fuel.

3. What other benefits will CCS provide?

In addition to its potential to reduce CO2 emissions on a massive scale, CCS will also provide greater energy security – by making the burning of Europe’s abundant coal reserves more environmentally acceptable and reducing its dependency on imported natural gas. CCS could also facilitate the transition to a hydrogen economy through the production of large volumes of clean hydrogen which that could be used for electricity or transport fuel.

EU demonstration efforts on CCS will not only demonstrate the EU’s commitment to delivering on its own CO2 reduction targets, but spur other countries to do the same – especially large CO2 emitters, such as China, India and the US. As a global solution to combating climate change, CCS could therefore also give a major boost to the European economy – promoting technology leadership, European competitiveness and creating jobs.

4. How does CCS work?

CCS consists of three stages:
i. Capture: CO2 is captured and compressed at the emissions site.
ii. Transport: The CO2 is then transported to a storage location.
iii. Storage: The CO2 is permanently stored in geological formations, deep underground.

Each of these stages – capture, transport and storage – can be accomplished in different ways.

i. Capture processes:

    Post-combustion: CO2 is removed from the exhaust gas through absorption by selective solvents.
    Pre-combustion: The fuel is pre- treated and converted into a mix of CO2 and hydrogen, from which the CO2 is separated. The hydrogen is then used as fuel, or burnt to produce electricity.
    Oxy-fuel combustion: The fuel is burned with oxygen instead of air, producing a flue stream of CO2 and water vapour without nitrogen; the CO2 is relatively easily removed from this stream.

ii. Transport options:
Pipelines are the main option for large-scale CO2 transportation, but shipping and road transport are also possibilities.

iii. Storage options:

    Deep saline aquifers (saltwater-bearing rocks unsuitable for human consumption)
    Depleted oil and gas fields (with the potential for Enhanced Oil Recovery)

5. How long has CCS been in existence?

Although there are currently no fully integrated, commercial-scale CCS projects for power plants in operation, many of the technologies that make up CCS have been around for decades:

    CO2 capture is already practised on a small scale, based on technology that has been used in the chemical and refining industries for decades.
    Transportation is also well understood: it has been shipped regionally for over 17 years, while a 5,000km network has been operating in the USA for over 30 years for Enhanced Oil Recovery.
    Small-scale CO2 storage projects have been operating successfully for over a decade, e.g. at Sleipner (Norway), Weyburn (Canada) and In Salah (Algeria). The industry can also build on knowledge obtained through the geological storage of natural gas, which has also been practised for decades.

6. What’s the next step?

CCS technology now needs to be scaled up – including full process integration and optimisation – with demonstration projects of a size large enough to allow subsequent projects to be at commercial scale. This will also build public confidence in CCS as more and more people see that CO2 storage is safe and reliable.
7. Why should we use CCS, given its link to fossil fuels?
Scientists have confirmed that unless we stabilise CO2- equivalent concentrations at their current level of 450 parts per million (ppm), average global temperature is likely to rise by 2.4ºC to 6.4ºC by 2100. If we fail to keep below 2ºC, devastating – and irreversible – climate changes will occur.

This means reducing CO2-equivalent emissions by 50% by 2030. But with world energy demand expected to double by 2030 and renewable energies to make up ~30% of the energy mix by this date, only a portfolio of solutions will achieve this goal. This includes energy efficiency, a vast increase in renewable energy – and CCS.

Around 750 new coal power plants are already planned for the period 2005–2018, totaling more than 350 Gigawatt (GW), of which 50 will be in Europe, almost 300 in China, 200 in India and 50 in the US.

8. Why is it so important to deploy CCS as soon as possible?
Time is of the essence. Any delay in the roll-out of CCS could not only lead to unnecessary CO2 emissions but additional costs, as instead of being able to apply it to the current pipeline of coal plants, a retrofit would be required, increasing the cost of achieving the same emissions reduction. With decisions on the building of new power plants being made now in Europe, it is vital that we are not locked into an infrastructure that is not optimised for CCS.

Indeed, every year that CCS is delayed is a missed opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions. Today, we have ~450 parts per million (ppm) CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere, with concentration rising at over 2 ppm per annum. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that if we are to avoid major climate change effects, we must not exceed this 450 ppm. Delaying the implementation of CCS by just 6 years would mean CO2 concentrations increasing by around 10 ppm by 2020.

9. If we are at such a critical phase, why isn’t it already being deployed?

The incremental costs of the first large-scale CCS demonstration projects will be exceptionally high – too high to be fully justifiable to company shareholders.

That’s because all ‘First Movers’ will incur:

    Unrecoverable costs from making accelerated investments in scaling up the technology.
    Market risk due to uncertainty over:
    a) which CCS technologies will prove the most successful
    b) the future CO2 price and
    c) construction and operational costs.

Based on an independent study recently undertaken by McKinsey and Company, it is estimated that the total incremental costs of 10-12 CCS demonstration projects would be €7 billion – €12 billion.

Industry has already declared its willingness to cover both the base costs of the power plant (without CCS) and a major portion of the risks of implementing these CCS demonstration activities. Given that it will bring incalculable benefits to both the public and European industry and that these projects are inherently loss-making, public funding has therefore been provided to support 12 industrial-scale CCS projects. Without this, commercialisation will be severely delayed – until at least 2030 in Europe.

10. Why are public funds needed for CCS demonstration projects?
Currently, a CCS demonstration project would be a loss-making enterprise for industry, given the current price of implementing and using the technology; the current price of carbon; and uncertainty surrounding long-term viability and profitability. No shareholder can therefore be expected to fund it fully at this stage.

The typical cost of a demonstration project is likely to be in the range €60-90 per tonne of CO2 abated. Recent analyst estimates for Phase II of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) range from €30 to €48 per tonne of CO2 and, at this stage, similar levels are assumed beyond Phase II (up to 2030). In this range, the carbon price is insufficient for demonstration projects to be “stand-alone”, commercially viable.

Assuming that CCS demonstration projects would cost between €60 and €90 per tonne of CO2, and projecting a median carbon price of €35 per tonne of CO2, there is an “economic gap” of €25-€55 per tonne of CO2 per project. This corresponds to around €500 million – €1.1 billion, expressed as a Net Present Value (NPV) over the lifespan of a 300MW size power plant. The range depends on variations in specific project variables, such as capture technology and capex, transport distance and storage solutions.

11. The UK and the Netherlands are well on their way to implementing CCS demonstration projects – won’t these be enough to make the technology commercially viable?
As it is not yet known which CCS technologies will prove the most successful, it is vital that the full range is tested – including higher-risk technologies – optimised across projects and locations. As each region has its own challenges, local demonstration is also important in order to maximise public and political support.

As importantly, EU CCS demonstration efforts will ensure that cross-border projects – where CO2 is stored in a different country or region to where it is captured – are not excluded. As capture and storage locations are unevenly distributed throughout Europe, cross-border pipelines will play a crucial role in the wide-scale deployment of CCS and the development of clusters in major industrial areas as the next key step.

12. How much will it cost to retrofit CCS technology to existing power plants?
In general, retrofitting an existing power plant would lead to a higher cost for CCS, but these are highly dependent on specific site characteristics, including plant specifications, remaining economic life and overall site layout. For this reason, no generalisation or “reference case” would be meaningful.

There are four main factors likely to drive the cost increase for retrofits:

    The higher capex (capital costs) of the capture facility: the existing plant configuration and space constraints could make adaption to CCS more difficult than for a new build.
    The installation’s shorter lifespan: the power plant is already operating so where (for example) a new plant with CCS may run for 40 years, the capture facility of a 20 year-old plant is likely to have only a 20 year life, reducing the “efficiency” of the initial capex.
    There is a higher efficiency penalty, leading to a higher fuel cost when compared to a fully integrated, newly-built CCS plant.
    There is the “opportunity cost” of lost generating time, because the plant would be taken out of operation for a period to install the capture facility.

13. How can we accelerate the building of CCS projects?

Building a CCS project is a lengthy process: a fully integrated project can take 6.5-10 years before it becomes operational. However, Final Investment Decision can only be made once permits have been awarded across the entire value chain. In the case of CO2 storage, this can take as long as 6.5 years. In such a scenario, even a commercial project started as early as 2016 would not itself become operational until 2024.

Ideally, 10-12 CCS demonstration projects should be operational by 2015. The first early commercial projects should be operational by 2020, with the remaining demonstration projects sufficiently advanced for early commercial projects to be ordered from 2020 onwards. Some 80-120 large- scale CCS projects could therefore be operational in Europe by 2030.

There are several ways we can fast-track the building of CCS projects:

    Starting a commercial project as early as possible during the building of the demonstration project so that – for example – build can start after just one year of the demo being in operation.
    Accelerating feasibility studies etc.
    Making faster investment decisions
    Shortening the tender process
    Introducing special measures to shorten the permitting process.

Some projects, by their very nature, will of course be quicker to build than others, e.g. retrofitting existing power plants with CCS; using well-known oil and gas fields with infrastructure and seismic data already available; those with only a short distance from the power plant to the storage site, etc.

14. How much CO2 can be captured using CCS?

One 900 MW CCS coal-fired power plant can abate around 5 million tonnes of CO2 a year. If, as projected, 80-120 commercial CCS projects are operating in Europe by 2030, they would abate some 400 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

By 2050, CCS could reduce annual CO2 emissions by 0.6 to 1.7 billion tonnes in the EU and by 9 to 16 billion tonnes worldwide. The upper end of this range would require its application to all fossil fuel power plants and to almost all other large industrial emitters – with the large volumes of hydrogen produced used for transport fuel.

15. Isn’t more energy utilised where CCS is implemented?

The absolute efficiency penalty, estimated at around 10% for the reference case (meaning plant efficiency drops from 50% to around 40%), drives an increase in fuel consumption and does require an over- sizing of the plant to ensure the same net electricity output.

However, next-generation technology – such as ultra-supercritical 700°C technology for boilers, coupled with drying in the case of lignite – will achieve a 50% level of overall plant efficiency. While this technology is not currently available, it is expected to be when early commercial CCS projects are built around 2020.

16. Where will CO2 be stored?
The regional distribution and cost of storage in Europe will play an important role in any roll-out of CCS. Most experts agree that depleted oil and gas fields and deep saline aquifers have the largest storage potential.

Depleted oil and gas fields
Depleted oil and gas fields are well understood and around a third of total oil and gas field capacity in Europe is estimated to be economically useable for CO2 storage. With an estimated capacity for 10 to 15 billion tonnes of CO2, this is sufficient for the lifetime of around 50 to 60 CCS projects. However, most of these fields are located offshore in northern Europe and the transportation to and storage of CO2 in these fields (excluding capture) is around twice as costly as onshore fields.

Deep saline aquifers
While much less work has been done to map and define deep saline aquifers, most sources indicate that their capacity should be sufficient for European needs overall. Preliminary conservative estimates by EU GeoCapacity indicate that Europe can store some 136 billion tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to around 70 years of current CO2 emissions from the EU’s power plants and heavy industry. At the higher end of these estimations, EU GeoCapacity estimates some 380 billion tonnes of CO2 could be stored in Europe alone.

17. Storing enormous quantities of CO2 underground must present some risk?
The geological formations that would be used to store CO2 diffuse it, making massive releases extremely unlikely. Indeed, because the CO2 becomes trapped in the tiny pores of rocks, any leakage through the geological layers would be extremely slow, allowing plenty of time for it to be detected and dealt with. In fact, it would not raise local CO2 concentrations much above normal atmospheric levels.

Higher concentration leaks could come from man-made wells, but the oil and gas industry already has decades of experience in monitoring wells and keeping them secure. Storage sites will not, of course, be located in volcanic areas.

18. But won’t CO2 storage increase the likelihood of seismic activity?

A detailed survey takes place to identify any potential leakage pathways before a CO2 storage site is selected. If these are discovered, then the site will not be selected. In areas where some natural seismic activity is already taking place, we can ensure that the pressure on the CO2 does not exceed the strength of the rock by making the volume of CO2 stored relative to that of the storage site. CO2 storage has even proved to be robust in volcanic areas: in 2004, a storage site in Japan endured a 6.8 magnitude earthquake with no damage to its boreholes and no CO2 leakage. But then CO2 has remained undisturbed underground for millions of years – despite thousands of earthquakes.
19. How will we know if the CO2 is leaking?

Before a CO2 storage site is chosen, a detailed survey takes place to identify any potential leakage pathways. If these are found to exist then the site will not be selected. In Europe, underground gas storage (natural gas and hydrogen) has an excellent safety record, with sophisticated monitoring techniques that are easily adaptable to CCS. On the surface, air and soil sampling can be used to detect potential CO2 leakage, whilst changes underground can be monitored by detecting sound (seismic), electromagnetic, gravity or density changes within the geological formations.

The risk of leakage through man-made wells is expected to be minimal because they can easily be monitored and fixed, while CO2 leaking through faults or fractures would be localised and simply withdrawn; and, if necessary, the well closed.

20. Who will be liable for CO2 storage sites over the long-term?
As the CO2 will remain stored underground indefinitely, long-term liability will follow the example set by the petroleum industry, whereby the state assumes liability after a regulated abandonment process. Indeed, EU law governing the safe and permanent storage of CO2 has already been approved and is currently being implemented at national level.
21. Large stationary emitters of CO2 also include refineries, steel and cement plants – how are they linked into what the EC is doing?
The EC encourages the deployment of CCS in other sectors, as 25% of all European CO2 emissions addressable by CCS come from refineries and the cement, iron and steel industries.


The European CCS Demonstration Project Network

The EC has established a Network of CCS demonstration projects to generate early benefits from a coordinated European action.
CCS demonstration projects fulfilling minimum qualification criteria are invited to join the Network and benefit from its operations.
The Network allows early-movers to exchange information and experience from large-size industrial demonstration of the use of CCS technologies, to maximise their impact on further R&D and policy making, and optimise costs through shared collective actions.
It is envisaged that, as the Network evolves, its EU-wide, integrating and binding role may be reinforced and complemented by other measures in support of further development of CCS technologies, building towards the establishment of a European Industrial Initiative.

To help fulfil the potential of CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), the European Commission is sponsoring and coordinating the world’s first network of demonstration projects, all of which are aiming to be operational by 2015. The goal is to create a prominent community of projects united in the goal of achieving commercially viable CCS by 2020.
The CCS Project Network fosters knowledge sharing amongst the demonstration projects and leverage this new body of knowledge to raise public understanding of the potential of CCS. This accelerates learning and ensures that we can assist CCS to safely fulfil its potential, both in the EU and in cooperation with global partners.

CCS Project Network Advisory Forum

To guarantee that the Network is valuable to the wider energy community in Europe, an annual Advisory Forum has been established to review progress and specify the knowledge that can most usefully be generated by the CCS Project Network.

  • The first Advisory Forum meeting was held in Brussels on 17 September 2010.
    Read more..
  • The second Advisory Forum Meeting was held on 16 June 2011 in Brussels. Read more..

CCS World News

Membership of the CCS Project Network is open to all European projects that are at a sufficient scale and level of maturity that will generate valuable output and knowledge about industrial-scale CCS demonstration.
The application process for membership of the Network is designed to be as simple and transparent as practicable, but sufficiently robust to ensure that all members are large-scale demonstration projects at a similar level of maturity.
Project developers may submit applications at any time to demonstrate that they fulfil the eligibility criteria, can provide evidence of the maturity of the project, commit to knowledge sharing and agree to the Network organisation and procedures. The qualification criteria and application process are described in the Qualification Criteria document. The Network is open to all qualifying projects and will not distinguish between EU-funded and non-EU funded projects.

Eligibility Criteria

Projects in the Network shall have sound plans to demonstrate the full CCS value chain by 2015 and shall fulfil the following technical criteria:

  • The CCS project shall for a fossil fuel-fired power plant have a minimum gross production of 250MWe before CO2 capture and compression
  • The CCS project shall for an industrial plant realise a minimum of 500kt per year of stored CO2
  • The CO2 capture rate shall not be less than 85% of the treated flue gas stream
  • The project, i.e. the plant to which CCS is applied, shall be located within the European Economic Area (EEA)

Knowledge Sharing

Projects in the Network are committed to knowledge sharing with similar projects and other stakeholders in order to help accelerate CCS deployment and raise public engagement, as described in the Knowledge Sharing Protocol document.

Key documents

European CCS Demonstration Project Network Qualification Criteria
European CCS Demonstration Project Network Knowledge Sharing Protocol

Learn more about CCS

To learn more about CCS, please have a look at the following videos, kindly provided by ZEP:

special tanks to

Daniel Rennie
Global CCS Institute
Actualis, Level 2
21 & 23 Boulevard Haussmann
PARIS 75009 France

Jose Manuel Hernandez
Programme Manager – EU Policies
European Commission


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CCRES Algae Project Q&A


CCRES Algae Project

See answers to common questions about growing algae for biofuel production.

Algae’s potential
What makes algae a better alternative fuel feedstock than cellulosic feedstocks, such as switchgrass or miscanthus?
What transportation fuels can algae produce?
How much fuel can algae produce?
Where could this type of algae grow?
What can you do with material derived from algae production not used for fuel?

How much would a gallon of algae-based transportation fuel cost if it were available at a service station today?
What can accelerate the commercial availability of algae biofuel?

How will algae-based transportation fuels impact greenhouse gas emissions?
Is the process capable of being replicated at the local level to increase energy efficiency and promote low-energy overhead?

Can algae-based fuels be used in developing countries to help them bypass fossil fuel dependence?

Q: What makes algae a better alternative fuel feedstock than cellulosic feedstocks, such as switchgrass or miscanthus?

A: Large-scale production of resource-intensive plants, like switchgrass or miscanthus, requires a substantial amount of fertile land, fresh water, and petroleum-based fertilizer to grow. The fuel derived is ethanol, a lower-energy fuel not compatible with the infrastructure now used to transport, refine, and deliver liquid fuels, like gasoline and diesel.

Conversely, algae can produce hydrocarbons capable of being converted directly into actual gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be transported and delivered to market using the existing refinery infrastructure.

Q: What transportation fuels can algae produce?
A: Algae produce a variety of fuel and fuel precursor molecules, including triglycerides and fatty acids that can be converted to biodiesel, as well as lipids and isoprenoids that can be directly converted to actual gasoline and traditional diesel fuel. Algae can also be used to produce hydrogen or biomass, which can then be digested into methane.

Q: How much fuel can algae produce?

A: The United States consumes 140 billion gallons per year of liquid fuel. Algae can produce 3,000 gallons of liquid fuel per acre in a year, so it would take 45 million acres of algae to provide 100% of our liquid fuel requirements.

For comparison, in 2008 the United States had 90 million acres of corn and 67 million acres of soybeans in production. So growing 45 million acres of algae, while challenging, is certainly possible.

Q: Where could this type of algae grow?

A: Algae perform best under consistent warm temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees. Climates with plenty of sunshine offer optimal conditions. Ideal Croatian locations include many of the southern and southwestern areas, such as Dalmatia,(including Dalmatian hinterland ).

Q: What can you do with material derived from algae production not used for fuel?

A: Production of 140 billion gallons of fuel from algae would also yield about 1 trillion pounds of protein. Since algae-produced protein is very high quality, this protein could be used to feed livestock, chicken, or fish. Presently, all livestock in this country consume about 770 billion pounds of protein per year.

Q: How much would a gallon of algae-based transportation fuel cost if it were available at a service station today?

A: Today, the cost would be relatively expensive. Additional investment in research is needed to further refine and enhance the algae strains that generate such fuels. Also, more infrastructure needs to be developed to achieve the necessary economies of scale that will come with large-scale commercial production. Once overall efficiency increases, the cost of producing a gallon of gasoline from algae will dramatically reduce.

Q: What can accelerate the commercial availability of algae biofuel?

A: As viable and potentially transformational as algae-based transportation fuels have already proven, we need a much better knowledge base on algae at the microbial level. We also need to build on this platform to develop the tools and train the next generation of scientists that will help usher in the age of accessible, affordable, and sustainable fuels made from algae. That is a central component of the Croatian Center for Algae Biofuels (CCRES Algae Project).

Q: How will algae-based transportation fuels impact greenhouse gas emissions?

A: Production of alternative transportation fuels from algae will help reduce the amount of CO2 in the environment. Algae provide a carbon-neutral fuel because they consume more CO2 than is ultimately released into the atmosphere when algae-based fuel burns. The amount of carbon removed from the environment will depend on the number of algae farms built and the efficiency with which algae can be modified to convert CO2 to fuel products. Eventually, algae farms will likely be located adjacent to CO2 producing facilities, like power plants, resulting in potentially significant CO2 sequestration benefits.

Q: Is the process capable of being replicated at the local level to increase energy efficiency and promote low-energy overhead?

A: Absolutely. There are huge advantages to locating algae farms near urban centers. The algae consume industrial waste and contaminants, which are usually found in higher concentrations near cities. A perfect location is near a power plant, where the algae can consume flue gas and other waste, or near a wastewater treatment plant where the algae could consume significant amounts of nitrates and phosphates from the waste stream. This could result in cleaner effluent discharge, and perhaps eventually create “new” sources of non-potable water for industrial or agricultural use.

Q: Could algae-based fuels be used in developing countries to help them bypass fossil fuel dependence?

A: Algae-based fuels (and the protein byproducts derived from their production) definitely have the potential to positively impact developing countries. The requirements for farming algae are fairly straightforward and can be done almost anywhere in the world with an adequate supply of sunshine. In Africa, for example, millions of algae acres could be farmed in its less-populated regions, resulting in a reduced dependence on foreign oil and a reliable and sustainable energy supply.

part of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES July 12, 2012



Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources 

News and Events July 12, 2012

Report: Energy-Efficient Lighting has Lower Environmental Impact

A new Energy Department report finds that LED lamps have a significantly lower environmental impact than incandescent lighting and a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The report, LED Manufacturing and Performance, compares these three technologies from the beginning to the end of their life cycles, including manufacturing, operation, and disposal. The most comprehensive study of its kind for LED lamps, the report analyzes the energy and environmental impacts of manufacturing, assembly, transport, operation, and disposal of these three lighting types. It is the first public report to consider the LED manufacturing process in depth. See the LED Manufacturing and Performance report PDF.
This is the second report produced through a larger Energy Department project intended to assess the life-cycle environmental and resource costs of LED lighting products in comparison with traditional lighting technologies. It utilizes conclusions from the previous report, Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps, released in February 2012, to produce a thorough assessment of the manufacturing process. See the Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps report PDF.
The initial report concluded that CFLs and today’s LEDs are similar in energy consumption—both consuming significantly less electricity over the same period of usage than incandescent lighting—and that operating these products consumed the majority of the energy used throughout their life cycles. Similarly, the new report finds that the energy these lighting products consume during operation makes up the majority of their environmental impact, compared to the energy consumed in manufacturing and transportation. Because of their high efficiency—consuming only 12.5 watts of electricity to produce about the same amount of light as CFLs (15 watts) and incandescents (60 watts)—LED lamps were found to be the most environmentally friendly of the three lamp types over the lifetime of the products, across 14 of the 15 impact measures examined in the study. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Solid State Lighting website.


Energy Department Honors Utilities with Public Power Wind Awards

The Energy Department on June 19 recognized three utilities—two in Minnesota and one in California—with the 2012 Public Power Wind Award. Minnesota’s Moorhead Public Service and the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, along with California’s City of Palo Alto Utilities, received the awards. The American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Energy Department’s Wind Powering America initiative created the Public Power Wind Award to recognize APPA-member utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power and furthering energy independence.
Now in its tenth year, the annual award recognizes APPA members in three categories: Small Member System, Large Member System, and Joint Action Agency. Moorhead Public Service received the Small Member System award for its years of leadership in wind energy that began with its pioneering utility-scale wind investments in 1999. The City of Palo Alto Utilities received the Large Member System award for delivering 17% of its energy mix from wind power, and for using wind energy to provide 97.5% of the renewable energy credits the utility uses for its green power program, PaloAltoGreen. And Minnesota Municipal Power Agency received the Joint Action Agency award for installing a wind turbine in each of its member communities, with which it collaborated to develop the 44-megawatt Oak Glen Wind Farm in Steele County, providing enough electricity to power 14,000 homes. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Wind Powering America website.


EIA Sees Energy Efficiency Slowing U.S. Energy Consumption

Increased energy efficiency will contribute to a slowing of the annual growth rate of U.S. energy consumption from 2012 to 2035, expanding at an average annual rate of 0.3%, according to a new study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The agency recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which includes both a reference case and 29 alternative cases. By comparision to the lower projections, the U.S. growth rate of energy consumption was 1.8% in 2005. In the reference case, the share of U.S. energy generation from renewables is projected to grow from 10% to 15%. The report describes how different assumptions regarding market, policy, and technology drivers affect energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends.
According to the report, the slowdown in the rate of growth in energy usage reflects increasing energy efficiency in end-use applications, among other things. In one basic scenario, EIA estimates the overall U.S. energy consumption will expand at an average annual rate of 0.3% through 2035. During this period, the United States won’t return to the levels of energy demand growth experienced in the 20 years prior to the 2008-2009 recession. The authors cite existing federal and state energy requirements and incentives as playing a continuing role in more efficient technologies. Additionally, new federal and state policies could lead to further reductions in energy consumption. The document also examines the potential impact of technology change and the proposed vehicle fuel efficiency standards on energy consumption. See the EIA press release, and the complete reportPDF.


New Power Line Delivers Renewable Energy to San Diego

Photo of two helicopters and part of a power tower.

The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line under construction in California.
Credit: San Diego Gas & Electric
The $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink, a 500,000-volt transmission line linking San Diego, California, to the Imperial Valley, is now in service after a five-year permitting process and 18 months of construction. San Diego Gas & Electric announced on June 18 that the line will connect San Diego with one of the most renewable-rich regions in California. For environmental reasons, nearly 75% of the tower locations required helicopters to set the tower structures and it took more than 28,000 flight hours to complete the aerial construction.
The Sunrise Powerlink will soon deliver a significant amount of wind and solar power to San Diego. Over the past three years, San Diego Gas & Electric signed eight renewable energy agreements for more than 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind power from projects in Imperial County. In 2011, more than 20% of the utility’s power came from renewable energy, and by 2020, it will get 33% from renewable resources. See the San Diego Gas & Electric press release.


IEA: Renewable Energy to Grow During the Next 5 Years

Global renewable power generation is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next five years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, released on July 5, says that despite economic uncertainties, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable sources is projected to increase by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours by 2017. That amount would be roughly one-and-a-half times the current electricity production in the United States.
The study examines in detail 15 key markets for renewable energy, which currently represent about 80% of renewable generation, while it identifies developments that may emerge in other important markets. Of the 710 gigawatts of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%, with the United States, India, Germany, and Brazil also contributing to the growth. The report presents detailed forecasts for renewable energy generation and capacity for eight technologies: hydropower, bioenergy for power, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power, geothermal, and ocean power. Hydropower is projected to have the largest increase in generation, followed by onshore wind, bioenergy, and solar PV.
This expansion is underpinned by the maturing of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks. However, rapidly increasing electricity demand and energy security needs in recent years have been spurring deployment in many emerging markets. These new deployment opportunities are creating a virtuous cycle of improved global competition and cost reductions. See the IEA press release.



  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

One Cool Change at Energy HQ

The Forrestal Building, which stands as the centerpiece of the Energy Department’s headquarters complex, has recently undergone a change that will save the U.S. taxpayers an estimated $600,000 every year.
“Through the installation of the new chiller plant, we’re saving money on our air conditioning bills with more efficient equipment while providing much more reliable air conditioning to our critical facilities”, said Peter O’Konski, director for the department’s Office of Administration. “That’s good for our environment, our customers, and our bottom line.”
The chiller plant was constructed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract, a public-private partnership that allowed the department to apply industry best practices and use private financing for the project. The financing costs are recovered from energy savings.
The partnership is also ushering in improvements like LED exterior lights, steam trap repairs and a variable air volume system that are expected to save $59.5 million in the long term. For the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.


Making Efficiency a More Efficient Business

By Roland Risser, program manager, Building Technologies Program
Even with the sweltering heat and relaxation that summer usually brings, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is showing no sign of slowing down. This week, the program is hosting the Residential Energy Efficiency Solutions: From Innovation to Market Transformation conference, bringing together approximately 400 administrators and implementers of residential energy efficiency programs and associated stakeholders. Six new case studies, a business models guide and a video showcasing energy efficiency upgrade professionals are debuting at the conference. Each was designed to inspire communities across the country to save money, create new jobs, and foster business opportunities.
The six case studies—profiling successful workforce development and incentive initiatives in Maine, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania—are a great resource for any energy efficiency upgrade professional. Each addresses key topics such as participant recruitment, workforce training, and cost barriers that contractors and consumers face. For the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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EU carbon labels

photo: CCRES Carbon label

EU wants carbon labels

A carbon footprint can be defined as the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organisation, event, product or person. But calculating the precise total carbon footprint of any of these is all but impossible due to the large amount of data required. In a bid to give consumers some way to measure the environmental impact of goods and services that they buy, the European Commission is is working towards developing a

“harmonised methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products”.

Currently, 10 pilot studies are being trail-blazed in the fields of agriculture, retail, construction, chemicals, ICT, food, and manufacturing (footwear, television, paper).

photo: U.K. Launches First Carbon Label For Fashion

A European Commission review of carbon dioxide labelling methodologies for commercial products, due later this year, is likely to propose a grading system similar to the EU energy consumption labels for products, goods and service.“This approach could simplify the way in which the information is delivered, without requiring a simplistic approach,” said Joe Hennon, spokesman for Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

“The new Product Environmental Performance (PEF) standard will only focus on the three most relevant categories and will probably use a grading system,” he told.

This would be “similar to the one used by the energy label, to which the consumers are familiar and have proven to like, based on agreed benchmarks,” Hennon added.

The EU’s energy labelling scheme ensures that most major appliances, light bulb packaging and cars have a label attached, grading their efficiency performance on a scale running from A to G.

A recent EU report found that these labels were “quite familiar to consumers” and easy to understand.

Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the UK Carbon Trust, which measures and provides carbon footprints for companies, was upbeat about expanding the scheme’s methodology.

“Grading systems, such as those used in the EU energy label and elsewhere are well-established and recognised by consumers,” he told.

It was important for certification and labelling schemes “to strike the right balance between providing information while ensuring clear and simple messages to consumers,” he said.

Life-cycle assessment

Carbon labelling is a means of providing a complete and independent ‘life cycle assessment’ (LCA) – or carbon footprint – of all the CO2 that has been emitted during the manufacture, use and disposal of a product.

Ideally, it should allow consumers to rest assured that the carbon-labelled product they have bought will do what it says on the tin.

But consumer and environmental groups have criticised current carbon labelling practices for being misleading, confusing, and open to manipulation by corporate interests.

“An LCA is like a black box,” Jürgen Resch of the German environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe, said in October 2010. “If you enter false and invalid data and misleading assumptions into the calculations, you end up with the wrong results.”

“This is what happened with the LCA’s recently published by the plastics and beverage can industry,” he added, referring to assessments the industry had carried out into its PET one-way bottles and cans.

“Built-in flexibility”

Hennon accepted that because current carbon labelling was based on standards which had a “built-in flexibility” – in the best case scenario – and that they had consequently “often been used by practitioners to steer the results of the analysis in the direction desired”.

But he said that the EU’s review of methodologies was intended to “minimise such flexibility, providing a clearer and more structured framework to carry out the studies, leading to much more comparable results and also reducing uncertainties and imprecisions.”

One recent report by one European consumer watchdog found that the level of complexity in carbon labelling methodology would befuddle even the experts tasked with devising it.

That paper, by the group ANEC, called for the EU’s more straightforward colour or letter-coded energy labelling system to be developed further.

Hennon said the new methodology would be moving in exactly this direction, despite green criticisms that this as an impossible task.

“There is a balance to be struck,” he said, “as too much or too confusing information does not help but may, on the contrary, reduce the willingness of consumers to make better informed choices.”

photo: US Carbon Labeling Efforts

EU studyIn hindsight, a recent EU study of its option for communicating environmental product information in the 2008 review of the Sustainable Consumption and Production Industrial Policy Action may be seen to have foreshadowed many of the EU’s proposals.

Among other things, it found that:

Too many environmental indicators confuse consumers and so no more than three indicators should be communicated.
The information should come from a trusted, and ideally third-party source, and not the manufacturer.
General terms for indicators and simpler rating systems and units of measurement are better than technical descriptions.
Information should be provided at the point of purchase for maximum impact on behaviour.
Lettered assessments are easier for consumers to understand, although coloured ones are difficult for manufacturers to integrate into their packaging designs.

“The Carbon Trust supports the principle of comparability across products because this enables consumers to make informed choices.” Messem said.

special thanks to 
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.
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CCRES Algae Astaxanthin


CCRES Algae Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin’s ability to scavenge free radicals in your body* is up to…

    550 times more powerful than vitamin E
    65 times more powerful than vitamin C
    54 times more powerful than beta-carotene
    5 times more powerful than lutein

It does this by quenching a molecule called singlet oxygen – a harmful reactive oxygen species formed through normal biological processes occurring in your body.* Singlet oxygen possesses a high amount of excess energy that must be released to keep it from damaging other cells.
Astaxanthin absorbs this energy and dissipates it as heat, thereby returning the singlet oxygen to a grounded state.*

There’s another way, too, that astaxanthin helps to protect cells, organs and tissues against oxidative damage from free radicals.*

CCRES Algae Astaxanthin
It traps free radicals at both ends of the molecule.* Once captured, the potentially harmful free radicals pass into cellular fluids where they become neutralized by vitamin C. In this way, astaxanthin is sometimes considered a ‘booster’ for other antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.*

What’s more, astaxanthin can’t act as a potentially detrimental “pro-oxidant” like some of the other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin.


    Support your joint health, flexibility, and mobility*
    Support a healthy immune response*
    Support your central nervous system*
    Support your cardiovascular system*
    Support your brain and eye health due to its unique ability to cross blood-brain and blood-retina barriers*

part of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES July 06, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events July 06, 2012

Energy Department Announces $102 Million for Small Business Research

The Energy Department announced on June 27 that it will award new funding to 104 small businesses nationwide. The grants, totaling more than $102 million, will support businesses in 26 states, helping companies to develop promising technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation.
Funded through the Energy Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the selections are for Phase II work. In Phase II, companies will build on the conceptual work undertaken in Phase I and pursue the next steps in bringing the technologies to market. The Phase II awards are up to $1 million for work over two years. The awards support developing technologies in areas ranging from large wind turbine towers to more energy-efficient data centers. For example, the Xunlight 26 Solar company of Toledo, Ohio, will work on transparent, flexible cadmium telluride modules for photovoltaics. See the DOE press release, the list of awards, and the SBIR and STTR website.


Energy Department Awards $14 Million for Energy Efficiency in 22 States

The Energy Department announced on June 27 that its State Energy Program has awarded $14 million to state-led energy efficiency projects in 22 states. The funds will allow the government agencies to conduct energy efficiency upgrades to public facilities and develop local policies and programs to help reduce energy waste and save taxpayer money. These investments are part of the Energy Department’s strategy to create jobs, boost domestic manufacturing in energy-saving technologies, and help Americans save money.
The state-led projects will conduct whole-building energy efficiency upgrades across hundreds of public buildings, saving millions of dollars for state and local governments and creating new local jobs for energy auditors, architects, engineers and construction workers. The states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The projects fall under two broad categories, including advancing energy efficiency in public buildings and deploying fee-based self-funded public facilities energy retrofit programs. In addtion, two states will be taking energy efficiency policy action to encourage cost-effective energy efficiency investments and establish or increase statewide energy savings goals by 2015. See the DOE press release and the complete list of projectsPDF.


Obama Administration Announces Investments in Biofuels

Photo of a series of buildings.

The Energy Department is boosting support for biofuels. This type of pilot biorefinery makes cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs.
Credit: POET
The Energy Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Navy on July 2 announced $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. Drop-in biofuels are fuels that can serve as direct replacements or supplements to existing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels, without any changes to existing fuel distribution networks or engines—and have the potential to significantly reduce U.S. reliance on oil imports. DOE is also offering a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier-stage research that will continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.
In his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future released in March 2011, President Obama set a goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025, increasing energy efficiency, and speeding development of biofuels and other alternatives. As part of that effort, the blueprint directed the DOE, the Navy, and the USDA to collaborate to support commercialization of drop-in biofuel substitutes for diesel and jet fuel, which lead to the current Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). This FOA has a two-phased approach, with government and industry sharing in the cost. In Phase 1, applicants will submit a design package and comprehensive business plan for a commercial-scale biorefinery, identify and secure project sites, and take additional required steps spelled out in the announcement. Awardees selected to continue into Phase 2 will submit additional information for the construction or retrofit of a biorefinery. Applications are due by August 13, 2012. See the funding opportunity announcement, and the Blueprint for a Secure Energy FuturePDF.
In addition, DOE offered new investments in earlier-stage biofuels research that complement the commercial-scale efforts announced by the Navy and USDA. These early-stage, pre-commercial investments are the latest steps in the Obama Administration’s efforts to advance biofuels technologies to continue to lower costs, improve performance, and identify new effective, non-food feedstocks and processing technologies.
The funding announced by DOE includes $20 million to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. biorefineries, or operations at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment will also help federal and local governments, private developers, and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks. See the full funding solicitation. Applications are due August 13, 2012.
Also, DOE announced $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop biobased transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing. Synthetic biological processing offers an innovative technique to enable efficient, cost-saving conversion of non-food biomass to biofuels. These projects will develop novel biological systems that can enhance the breakdown of raw biomass feedstocks and assist in converting feedstocks into transportation fuels.
The projects—which will be led by small businesses, universities, national laboratories, and industry—will seek to overcome technical and scientific barriers to cost-competitive advanced biofuels and bioproducts. Applications are due July 10, 2012. See the full funding opportunity announcement, and the DOE press release.


Administration Makes Major Advances in Energy Efficiency Access

The Obama Administration announced on June 26 that 36 new members have joined the Better Buildings Challenge. These new commitments, from four states—Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina—local governments, and school districts, total nearly 300 million square feet in job-creating building energy upgrades, which is equivalent to more than 130 Empire State Buildings. In addition, new public tax guidance issued at the same time by the U.S. Department of the Treasury will make it easier for state and local governments to access more than $2 billion in existing low-cost financing to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through qualified energy conservation bonds. These bonds (QECBs) provide state and local governments with access to low-cost financing to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
The challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched in February 2011 to support job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades. The initiative is spearheaded by former President Clinton and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness with the goal of making U.S. buildings 20% more efficient over the next decade, which will help reduce U.S. energy costs by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20% of all the energy used by the U.S. economy. See the Energy Department press release and the Better Buildings Challenge website.


Interior Reports Two Major Wind Energy Initiatives Finish Review

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced on July 2 that two major wind energy initiatives have completed important environmental reviews in three states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Wyoming—clearing the way for public comment and final review.
DOI announced the release of final environmental impact statements for a proposed wind power complex in Wyoming that would generate up to 3,000 megawatts of power, making it the largest wind farm facility in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Farm would include up to 1,000 turbines and generate enough power for as many as 1 million homes. The project would be built on public, private, and state land in Carbon County, Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reviewing the proposed wind project, as well as a proposed amendment to the Rawlins Resource Management Plan to accommodate the facility.
Also, DOI announced the publication of an environmental assessment for commercial wind leases and site assessment activities on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This step positions DOI to offer the area as one of the nation’s first offshore competitive lease sales before the end of the year. The environmental assessment for the Rhode Island/Massachusetts Wind Energy Area will be used by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to inform future leasing decisions as part of the Obama Administration’s “Smart from the Start” offshore wind energy initiative. The Wind Energy Area comprises approximately 164,750 acres within the area of mutual interest identified by the two states. BOEM leadership will host public information sessions on July 16 and 17 to further engage stakeholders and consider public comments on the environmental assessment. See the DOI press release.


  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

A Material Change: Bringing Lithium Production Back to America

Between 1980 and 2009, the global demand for lithium has tripled. This metal is a key material in a number of growing industries, including advanced vehicle batteries and consumer electronics. But more specifically, lithium-ion batteries are a vital component in electric vehicles and other rechargeable batteries for consumer electronics and are used to produce the plug-in electric vehicles on the market today. These batteries also have a major impact on energy storage infrastructure and are helping integrate renewable energy sources into the electricity grid.
After leading the world in lithium production in the early 1990s, America now imports the majority of its lithium materials and compounds from South America.
The Energy Department is hoping to bring lithium production leadership back to the United States with a $28.4 million federal investment in the communities of Silver Peak, Nevada, and Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Read the complete story in the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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$62M to Biofuels Industry



  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

As part of President Obama’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, he directed the Navy, USDA and DOE to collaborate to support commercialization of “drop-in” biofuel substitutes for diesel and jet fuel. Competitively priced drop-in biofuels, he said, will help improve America’s energy security, meeting the fuel needs of U.S. armed forces, as well as the commercial aviation and shipping sectors. The recent announcement of an available $30 million in funding promotes speeding the development of biofuels for military and commercial transportation. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Navy and Department of Energy are announcing $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. The Energy Department is also announcing a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier stage research that will continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.
This funding opportunity is made possible through the Defense Production Act (DPA), an authority that dates back to 1950 and has been used to boost industries such as steel, aluminum, titanium, semiconductors, beryllium, and radiation-hardened electronics.

    “…through this DPA effort the nation will be able to harvest an aviation biofuels industry to satisfy the world’s needs, not just our U.S. military.” — USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

The new funding comprises a two-phased approach, with government and industry sharing in the cost. In Phase 1, applicants will submit a design package and comprehensive business plan for a commercial-scale biorefinery, identify and secure project sites and take additional required steps spelled out in the announcement. Awardees selected to continue into Phase 2 will submit additional information for the construction or retrofit of a biorefinery.

Agencies participating in this initiative will make additional funding requests to Congress to support the initiative, including President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request of $110 million.

“This is an important time for the biofuels industry to step up and show the Department of the Navy how they have developed biofuels that are certified and certifiable for military use,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The ability for U.S. industry to make, create and innovate has never been more important to our national and energy security. I know that through this DPA effort the nation will be able to harvest an aviation biofuels industry to satisfy the world’s needs, not just our U.S. military.”

The Energy Department has also announced new investments in earlier stage biofuels research that complement the commercial-scale efforts announced by the Navy and USDA. Totaling $32 million, these early-stage, pre-commercial investments are the latest steps in the Obama Administration’s efforts to advance biofuels technologies to continue to bring down costs, improve performance, and identify new effective, non-food feedstocks and processing technologies.

“Advanced biofuels are an important part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and support American industries and American jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “By pursuing new processes and technologies for producing next-generation biofuels, we are working to accelerate innovation in a critical and growing sector that will help to improve U.S. energy security and protect our air and water.”

The new funding announced by DOE includes $20 million to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. biorefineries or operation at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment will also help federal and local governments, private developers and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks. The full funding solicitation is available.

In addition, the Energy Department also announced $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop bio-based transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing. Synthetic biological processing offers an innovative technique to enable efficient, cost-saving conversion of non-food biomass to biofuels. These projects will develop novel biological systems that can enhance the breakdown of raw biomass feedstocks and assist in converting feedstocks into transportation fuels.

The projects will be led by small businesses, universities, national laboratories and industry and will seek to overcome various technical and scientific barriers to cost-competitive advanced biofuels and bioproducts. The full funding opportunity announcement is available.



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Renewable Energy Croatia 2012

Renewable energy resources, like wind and solar, are abundant, homegrown, and emissions-free and have the potential to help lead the nation toward energy independence.
Unfortunately, today’s infrastructure is unable to maximize the benefits of significantly more renewable resources. Wind and solar resources are connected to the grid as “one-off” solutions that are generally not integrated with other generation nor optimized as a reliable first-tier energy source.

Additionally, when renewable resources are producing electricity, the possibility of congestion on transmission lines can create a barrier to their full utilization. The variability of renewable sources can also cause challenges. And when renewables are offline—when the wind doesn’t blow or it’s a cloudy day— other power generation will be needed to fill in the gaps.

Without infrastructure expansion and changes to the way the power system is operated, it will be difficult for the Croatia to produce more than 20% of its electricity (the target percentage for many EU states) from variable renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar.

The Variability of Renewable Power

Wind and solar power are inherently variable, meaning sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Then what? Fortunately, smart grid technologies can help manage the unpredictability of wind and solar to help alleviate reliability and stability issues caused by power fluctuations. This will become increasingly important as more wind and solar power is connected to the grid.

Automated demand response technologies will act as a lever that utilities can pull to help lower demand in the event there is a gap in renewable power generation—for instance, if the wind stops blowing. To address such contingencies, a utility may incent consumers to opt into programs that allow certain devices (i.e., water heaters) to be temporarily switched off during peak times.
In the future, storage technologies could also help utilities manage the short-term imbalances in the supply and demand of energy, sometimes caused by the fluctuations of a lot of renewable energy. Batteries will store energy during times of excess wind energy production and discharge that energy via smart grid automation technologies when energy demand exceeds supply.

Grid Congestion
In some parts of the country, overburdened power lines make it difficult to move electricity from wind farms into the grid for consumption. There have been cases when wind farms are forced to shut down—even when the wind is blowing—because there is no capacity available in the lines for the electricity they create.

Without adequate transmission to transport power from “renewable” rich areas (like Dalmacija region) to densely populated areas, it is only cost effective to use renewable sources in certain areas of the country—at least for now.

While building new infrastructure would certainly help, smart grid technologies can also help utilities alleviate grid congestion and maximize the potential of our current infrastructure. Smart grid technologies can help provide real-time readings of the power line, enabling utilities to maximize flow through those lines and help alleviate congestion.

As smart grid technologies become more widespread, the electrical grid will be made more efficient, helping reduce issues of congestion. Sensors and controls will help intelligently reroute power to other lines when necessary, accommodating energy from renewable sources, so that power can be transported greater distances, exactly where it’s needed.

Distributed Generation
Traditionally, electricity has flowed one way, from a power station to a customer. However, as more energy is generated by alternative sources, power will be entering the network from multiple locations, including the distribution network (i.e., distributed generation). These sources are often cleaner or more efficient; for example, combined heat and power plants (CHP) are more than 75% efficient, compared to traditional generation, which is only 49% efficient on average.1

Unfortunately, the current grid was not designed with multi-directional power flow in mind. Two-way power flow, sophisticated controls, and grid automation technologies can help bring wind, solar and other alternative energy solutions safely into the distribution grid and move it where it’s needed, when it’s needed.

In some regions, individuals can contribute to energy production on the distribution grid by generating electricity at their home—for example, solar on rooftops. Where available, enhanced net-metering incents consumers to sell power back to the grid during peak pricing hours—so, consumers make money, and utilities are able to better manage peak demand. Whole neighborhoods could become solar or wind generation plants, introducing excess power back into the grid to meet demand.


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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