Monthly Archives: September 2012

Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis

 Astaxanthin
President & CEO of CCRES
 Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin, a member of the carotenoid family, it is a dark red pigment and the main carotenoid found in algae and aquatic animals. It is responsible for the red/pink coloration of crustaceans, shellfish, and the flesh of salmonoids. Algatechnologies produces astaxanthin from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest known natural source for astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin however, is more than just a red pigment, it is primarily an extremely powerful antioxidant. It has the unique capacity to quench free radicals and reactive species of oxygen and to inhibit lipid peroxidation. Studies have shown astaxanthin to be over 500 times stronger than vitamin E and much more potent than other carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene and β-carotene.
Astaxanthin was found to have beneficial effects in many health conditions related to the Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, skin health, joint health, muscle endurance, as well as to the cardiovascular, immune, eye and other systems.

Natural astaxanthin – molecule properties

Astaxanthin (3,3’-dihydroxy-β-β-carotene-4,4’-dione) is a xanthophyll  carotenoid,  commonly found in marine environments where it gives an orange-pink coloration to several sea-species.



CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis
Astaxanthin has two chiral centers, at the 3 and 3′ positions. The main astaxanthin stereoisomer (3S, 3S’) found in the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis is the main form found in wild salmon.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis
 Astaxanthin consists of geometric isomers (trans and cis). the cis isomers display higher bioavailability and potency in humans This isomer is abundant (up to 20%) in the natural astaxanthin complex produced by the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

The astaxanthin in Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae occurs in the esterified form, which is more stable than the free astaxanthin form.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin cannot be synthesized by animals and humans and must be provided in the diet. Natural astaxanthin has been part of the human diet for thousands of years.


CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin, unlike most carotenes is not converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the human body.


CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

Natural astaxanthin has no “pro-oxidant” activity – It does not become an exhausted oxidant thanks to its unique molecule structure that is able to release the excess of energy as heat.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis
 Astaxanthin has been shown to actually cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers, meaning it can positively impact disorders related to brain and the central nervous system.
 
 Astaxanthin
CCRES ALGAE PROJECT
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
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CCRES Low Carbon Fuels in Aviation

 photo by CCRES

 

Biofuels are key to industry’s future

 In a bid to reduce its dependency on imported oil and tackle global warming, the EU has committed to raising the share of fuels from renewable sources in transport to 10% by 2020 – including biofuels, hydrogen and green electricity.
For the growing aviation industry, the switch to plant-based fuel is seen as not only environmentally smart, but a sensible financial move in an era or rising conventional fuel prices and worries about supply security.
Biofuel use in passenger aircraft is still a novelty, and industry officials are urging governments to help lift supplies, much as policies in the EU and United States have created a flourishing market in plant-based oils for motor vehicles.
The industry contends that sustainable fuels will reduce emissions even as passenger traffic grows. The airline sector has committed to meet 10% of its overall fuel consumption with biofuels by 2017 – though the goal is ambitious given that it is to account for just 1% by 2015…
Meanwhile, more doubts are being raised about the environmental benefits of biofuels.
The United Nations Environment Programme has warned that even though burning plant-based fuels can produce significantly lower levels of carbon emissions, production and land clearing to make way for new crops “may reduce carbon-savings or even lead to an increase.”
European conservation groups say the EU and European governments should wait to embrace aviation biofuels until there is proof of their environmental benefits.
 ”Given the right conditions, algae can double its volume overnight. Microalgae are the earth’s most productive plants –– 10 to 15 times more prolific in biomass than the fastest growing land plant exploited for biofuel production. While soy produces some 50 gallons of oil per acre per year; canola, 150 gallons; and palm, 650 gallons, algae can produce up to 15,000 gallons per acre per year. In addition, up to 50 percent (or more) of algae biomass (dry weight) is comprised of oil, whereas oil-palm trees—currently the most efficient large-scale source of feedstock oil to make biofuels—yield approximately 20 percent of their weight in oil,” says Zeljko Serdar, President of CCRES
 Airlines have committed to ramping up their use of biofuels in the belief that they can contribute to achieving the sector’s pledges on carbon-neutral growth. For 2050, the EU foresees 40% use of “sustainable low carbon fuels” in aviation.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES September 27, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 27, 2012

One of World’s Largest Wind Farms Starts Up in Oregon

Photo of wind turbines in a flat landscape.

The Shepherds Flat wind farm, one of the largest in the world, is now operating in Oregon.
Credit: Energy Department
Caithness Energy announced on September 22 that its Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon—one of the largest in the world—is now operational and generating up to 845 megawatts of electricity. The Energy Department supported the project with a $1.3 billion partial loan guarantee through the Recovery Act in 2010. The company said the project in the northeastern part of the state will generate enough electricity to power 235,000 U.S. homes.
Sponsored by Caithness and General Electric (GE) Energy Financial Services, the project consists of 338 GE 2.5xl turbines, which are being deployed for the first time in North America. The project’s output is contracted through 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison. The project will eliminate nearly1,216,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, an amount equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 212,000 passenger vehicles. See the Caithness press release and the October 13, 2010 edition of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy newsletter.

USDA Announces $10 Million in Rural Smart Grid Funds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on September 20 the latest in a series of funding steps to modernize and improve the efficiency of rural electric generation and transmission systems. The agency will offer loan guarantees to support nearly $10 million in smart grid technologies.
One of the loan recipients is Nobles Cooperative Electric, which serves counties in southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. Their loan includes $850,000 in smart grid projects. The Gundy Electric Cooperative, Inc., which serves customers in Iowa and Missouri, has also been selected for a loan guarantee that includes over $700,000 in smart grid projects. Earlier this month, the USDA announced it had met its goal to finance $250 million in smart grid technologies in fiscal year 2012. See the USDA press release.
In 2009, the Energy Department released the first Smart Grid System Report, which examined smart grid deployment nationwide. The report noted that smart grids have the potential to dramatically change how we experience electricity in the country. See the July 22, 2009 edition of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network News newsletter.

New York Brings Energy Efficient Technologies to Market

New York announced on September 17 the launch of a $30 million initiative to accelerate the commercialization of emerging, cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies. The Energy Efficiency Market Acceleration Program (EE-MAP) is being implemented by the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The new initiative will fund research, market development activities, and demonstration projects to help leverage investments and promote business development opportunities for emerging energy efficiency technologies.
The program will focus on accelerating the market development of energy efficiency technologies by speeding their deployment and training engineers, contractors, and maintenance service providers in designing and installing energy efficiency products, among other efforts. To support the initiative, NYPA has teamed with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit collaborative research organization, to catalog state-of-the-art energy efficiency products and services, identify commercial trends, and screen and track emerging technologies. See the New York press release.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Clean Energy in Our Community: Allegheny College and Meadville, Pennsylvania

In the third edition of DOE’s “Clean Energy in Our Community” video series, Allegheny College shows us that size doesn’t matter. Even with only 2,100 undergraduate students, Allegheny is successfully incorporating sustainability into its culture, operations, and curriculum—helping to grow the local green energy economy both on and off its Meadville, Pennsylvania, campus.
By working with students, faculty, staff, and local partners, the campus has created a composting facility that processes between 800-900 pounds of food, compostable paper, and plastic each day. The result is a soil-like, nutrient-rich material that helps to replenish the campus’s lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds without using chemical fertilizers.
The campus is well on its way to achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2020. Earlier this year, Allegheny committed to purchasing 100% of its electricity from wind generated sources, a change that immediately eliminated over 50% of the institution’s carbon footprint. Through investments in energy audits and campus-wide energy retrofits, the campus is using Energy Star appliances and EPEAT certified computers to increase energy efficiency. In addition, all new construction on campus buildings will be LEED certified Silver, and historic buildings are in the process of becoming LEED certified. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

5 Questions about the SunShot Prize for Minh Le

Recently, we announced the launch of the SunShot Prize—a new competition aimed at making it faster, easier, and cheaper to install rooftop solar energy systems. Participating teams must demonstrate that solar energy is an affordable solution for American families and businesses. To learn more about the competition, we caught up with Minh Le, Acting Solar Program Manager at the Energy Department. In the Q&A exchange below, Le shares important details about the impetus driving this innovative competition.
Why did the Department launch the SunShot Prize?
The global clean energy race is moving forward at lightning speed, and it’s time for the United States to regain its competitive edge. The SunShot Prize is meant to inspire organizations across the nation to dramatically reduce the costs of going solar. As part of the SunShot Initiative’s larger effort to make solar cost-competitive by 2020, this new program takes aim at soft costs, which are essentially what we think of as “the price to plug in.” For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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News and Events by CCRES September 21, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 21, 2012

Energy Department Launches SunShot Prize Competition

Photo of workers installing photovoltaic panels on a house roof.

The SunShot Prize aims to decrease in the soft costs associated with small-scale solar energy systems by more than 65%.
Credit: MREA
As part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, the Department on September 12 announced the start of a new competition to make it faster, easier, and cheaper to install rooftop solar energy systems. The SunShot Prize makes a total of $10 million in cash awards available to the first three teams that consistently demonstrate that the non-hardware costs, or price to plug in, can be as low as $1 per watt (W) for small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on American homes and businesses. This target represents a decrease in the “soft costs” of solar energy systems—including permitting, licensing, connecting to the grid, and other non-hardware costs—by more than 65%. The winning teams will demonstrate that solar energy is an affordable solution for families and businesses in the United States.
The SunShot Prize is meant to inspire innovative, sustainable, and verifiable business practices that reduce soft costs to $1/W. Achieving this target will bring the SunShot goal of $0.60/W for residential system soft costs within reach by the end of the decade. During Phase I of the competition, winning teams will successfully deploy 5,000 small-scale (2–15 kilowatt) rooftop PV systems with non-hardware costs averaging $1/W. Phase II, which is intended to assess the business sustainability of the winning teams, calls for the installation of an additional 1,000 qualifying systems.
The competition will run through 2015.The first-place winner will receive $7 million, second place will receive $2 million, and third place will receive $1 million for successfully achieving the competition’s goals. In addition to the cash award, the first-place team will officially become “The Winner of America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar” prize. 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. See the Energy Department press release and SunShot Prize website.

First Ocean Energy Delivered to the U.S. Grid

Photo of a machine with rotating blades underwater.

ORPC’s TidGen power system, shown in this rendering, has begun delivering power to the grid from Cobscook Bay, Maine.
Credit: ORPC
The first grid-connected tidal power project in the United States project is now delivering electricity to the utility grid from an underwater power system in Cobscook Bay, Maine. Bangor Hydro Electric Company verified on September 13 that electricity generated by an underwater turbine generator is flowing to their power grid from Ocean Renewable Power Company’s (ORPC) Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project. The project is funded by a $10 million investment from the Energy Department, as well as the Maine Technology Institute and private investors.
The device, called a TidGen, is designed to operate in shallow tidal or deep river sites at depths of 50 to 100 feet , and has a peak output of 180 kilowatts. That amount is enough electricity to power 25 to 30 homes annually. In April, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a 20-year power purchase agreement for ORPC’s Maine Tidal Energy Project (which includes the Cobscook Bay Project) with three utilities: Central Maine Power, Bangor Hydro Electric, and Maine Public Service. Two additional TidGen devices will be installed at ORPC’s Cobscook Bay Project site in the fall of 2013, and together, the three-device power system will generate enough energy to power 75 to 100 homes. The devices connect directly to an onshore substation through a single underwater transmission line. See the ORPC press release Web page, the May 9 edition of EERE Network News, and the Energy Department Water Power Program website.

EPA Sets Biobased Diesel Volumes for 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on September 14 set the amount of bio-diesel products required to be included in diesel fuel markets in 2013 at 1.28 billion gallons. Biobased diesel products are advanced bio-fuels that are derived from sources such as vegetable oils and wastes oils from renewable sources.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established the second phase of the Renewable Fuel Standards program that specifies a one billion-gallon minimum volume requirement for the biomass-based diesel category for 2012 and beyond. The law also calls on EPA to increase the volume requirements after consideration of environmental, market, and energy-related factors. See the EPA press release and the Renewable Fuels Standard Web page.

Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 is Underway

The Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, a complementary competition to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operatre solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive, began on September 14 in Madrid, Spain. Teams from 14 countries will participate in this year’s competition, coming from Brazil, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In 2007, the Spanish Ministry of Housing signed an agreement to organize the event, and the first European gathering was in Madrid in 2010.
A combination of task completion, measurement, and jury scoring determined Solar Decathlon Europe’s first champion, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The event ends on September 30. See the Solar Decathlon Europe website.

Report Names Top 20 U.S. Corporate Solar Users

Walmart Stores Inc., Costco Wholesale, and Kohl’s Department Stores lead the top 20 U.S. companies in terms of on-site solar energy capacity, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative. Combined, the top 20 corporate solar users’ photovoltaic (PV) installations, which total at least 279 megawatts, generate an estimated $47.3 million worth of electricity each year. SEIA and Vote Solar released the findings on September 12.
The amount of solar installed by the top 20 solar-powered companies could power more than 46,500 average U.S. homes. Altogether, U.S. commercial solar installations could power more than 390,000 American homes. The companies analyzed for this report have deployed more than 700 individual PV systems on their facilities in at least 25 states and Puerto Rico. Rounding out the list, in order, are IKEA, Macy’s, McGraw-Hill, Johnson & Johnson, Staples, Inc., Campbell’s Soup, Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond, Toys ‘R’ Us, General Motors, FedEx, White Rose Foods, Dow Jones, Snyder’s of Hanover, ProLogis, Hartz Mountain Industries, and Crayola. See the SEIA press release and the full report Web page.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Environmental Management Introduces the First LEED Gold Industrial Facility

Even though the Olympics have ended, the Office of Environmental Management is still setting its sights on gold. The Energy Department and contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company achieved the first Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “gold” certification for sustainable design at the 200 West Pump and Treat system. This new groundwater treatment plant at Hanford Site in southeast Washington state is setting a new standard for environmental sustainability.
Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that rates buildings on criteria such as energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, and indoor air quality. Gold Certification is the second highest benchmark set by the USGBC for high-performance green buildings.
The building’s efficient design is expected to result in an energy cost savings of more than 70% over the life of the facility. Electric energy savings should amount to 317,470 kilowatt hours per year. That’s enough energy to power nearly 28 American households, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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News and Events by CCRES September 13, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 13, 2012

Report: U.S. Solar Market Spiked in Second Quarter of 2012

Photo of solar panels on a rooftop.

The U.S. solar industry notched its second-best quarter in history with 742 megawatts of solar panels installed in the second quarter of 2012.
Credit: Social Security Administration
The U.S. solar industry notched its second-best quarter in history, installing 742 megawatts of solar power in the second quarter of 2012, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). A record 477 MW of utility-scale installations helped the U.S. solar market expand by 45% over the first quarter of 2012, and 116% over the same period in 2011.
Eight states registered utility installations of 10 megawatts or greater: Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas. For the fourth consecutive quarter, the U.S. residential solar market grew incrementally, installing 98.2 MW. California, Arizona, and New Jersey led residential installations nationally.
According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from the industry group and GTM Research, the United States now has 5,700 MW of installed solar capacity—enough to power more than 940,000 households. The report notes that the market will remain strong through the last two quarters of 2012, and forecasts a total of 3,200 MW of PV will be installed this year—up 71% over 2011 totals. See the SEIA press release.

USDA Has Reached Its $250 Million Smart Grid Funding Goal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on September 7 announced that the department has reached its $250 million goal to finance smart grid technologies, and also announced nine rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 10 states that will receive more than $27 million in smart grid loans. The funding will go to making improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implementing smart grid technologies.
As part of President Obama’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, the administration has outlined a framework for modernized electric systems that will benefit all Americans. This framework lays out a number of public and private initiatives, including a goal of $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment as part of the USDA’s Rural Utility Service, which is focused on upgrading the electric grid in rural America. See the USDA press release.

California Efficiency Measures a Success

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on September 4 reported that its groundbreaking energy efficiency programs resulted in savings of 5,900 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2010-2011, enough to power more than 600,000 households for a year—the equivalent of two major power plants. In addition, the estimated savings cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.8 million tons, the equivalent of removing more than 700,000 cars from the roads. The findings were based on utility-reported estimates.
In its 2010-2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Progress Evaluation Report, the CPUC summarized investor-owned utility implementation thus far in CPUC’s $3.1 billion 2010-2012 energy efficiency program. The report details progress toward meeting multiple statewide energy and climate policy objectives. It states that 89% of estimated energy savings reported through 2011 occurred in the commercial (55%) and residential (34%) sectors. The agricultural and industrial sectors combine to make up the remaining 12% of electric savings. Through 2011, the majority of estimated electric savings was achieved through lighting (59%), followed by process improvements (13%) and HVAC (10%). See the CPUC press release PDF.

EPA, Green Sports Alliance Partner for Conservation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 6 it had signed an agreement with the Green Sports Alliance to work together to address environmental challenges faced by sports venues, organizations, and teams. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that facilitates collaboration between them on issues such as energy conservation and sustainability.
The EPA has also agreed to share tools like the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, in order to help Alliance members improve their environmental performance.
Green Sports Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues, and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent more than 100 sports teams and venues from 13 different sports leagues. See the EPA press release and the EPA’s Partnership programs website.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

The Bright Lights in New York Could Be Solar

The big city glow of New York could be coming from more than the bright lights on Broadway. The Big Apple also is increasingly aglow with solar power, particularly from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar.
Earlier this year, the city unveiled the New York City Solar Map, a collaborative tool which gives an estimate of solar photovoltaic potential for the one million buildings in the five city boroughs. The interactive map, hosted by The City University of New York (CUNY), is based on information from flights over the city by an airplane equipped with an aerial laser system. The device, known as Lidar for “light image detection and ranging,” gathered information on the shape, angle, size, and shade of rooftops along with the surface elevations of ground, buildings, and trees. Analysis of the data showed that the city has a solar potential of 5,800 megawatts peak output—more that 40% of the city’s electrical demand at peak times if all the rooftops were fully outfitted with solar. About two-thirds of the city’s structures are suitable to house solar panels.
CUNY’s work on the NYC Solar Map was funded through the Energy Department in 2007 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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News and Events by CCRES September 06, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 06, 2012

Energy Department Backs Collaborative Solar Energy Projects

The Energy Department on August 29 announced a $4.4 million investment in five new research projects to accelerate innovations that could lower the cost of photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power technologies. These investments will enable teams from industry, universities, and the Energy Department’s national laboratories to collaborate at the department’s Scientific User Facilities, a national network of unique facilities that provide over 10,000 scientists and engineers each year with open access to some of the best instruments and tools in the world, including x-ray sources, accelerators, supercomputers, and nanoscale research centers.
The five research projects selected fall under two levels: establishing Scientific User Facility research partnerships and developing a new Scientific User Facility instrument. Under the first level, two projects have been awarded a total of $900,000 to establish research partnerships and carry out research using existing tools. Based in Berkeley, California, PLANT PV will partner with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry to develop 3D mapping tools for higher performing thin film solar material. And the University of Colorado will use tools at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to research high-temperature inexpensive materials for concentrating solar power technologies.
Also, three projects totaling a $2.6 million investment have been selected to establish full research programs at a Scientific User Facility. These programs will result in new tool development, expanding the capability of each facility to conduct advanced solar energy research. Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories will partner with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies in New Mexico to improve the efficiency of thin film PV materials, while Arizona State University will use x-ray technologies at Argonne National Laboratory to address solar cell material performance. Additionally, Stanford University will partner with SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to research inexpensive ways to print solar cells. See the Energy Department press release and the complete list of projects PDF.

Administration Finalizes Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards

The Obama Administration on August 28 finalized standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. When combined with previous standards set by this administration, this action will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on the road. The move to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.
The program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance. The program includes incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles, as well as incentives for hybrid and other technologies that can improve the fuel economy of large pickups. The new standards issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) build on the success of the administration’s standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2011-2016. Those standards, which raised average fuel efficiency by 2016 to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg, are already saving families money at the pump.
Achieving the new fuel efficiency standards will encourage innovation and investment in advanced technologies that increase our economic competitiveness and support high-quality domestic jobs in the auto industry. The final standards were developed by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the EPA, following extensive engagement with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states, and the public. Last year, 13 major automakers, which together account for more than 90% of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards. See the White House press release and the NHTSA CAFE fuel standards website.

Executive Order Promotes Industrial Energy Efficiency

President Obama on August 30 signed an Executive Order to facilitate investments in industrial energy efficiency that will strengthen U.S. manufacturing and help create jobs. These efforts to boost industrial energy efficiency, including combined heat and power systems, can save manufacturers as much as $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade. Such efficiency measures will reduce energy consumption and harmful emissions.
While manufacturing facilities have become more energy efficient over time, there is an opportunity to accelerate and expand on this trend with investments that reduce energy use through more efficient manufacturing technologies and processes, including expanding use of efficient, on-site heat and power generation, known as combined heat and power. The order also establishes a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new combined heat and power capacity by 2020, a 50% increase from today.
This Executive Order builds on steps the administration has taken to scale up private sector investments in energy efficiency in our homes, buildings, and factories with efforts like the Better Buildings Initiative and investments upgrading homes around the United States.
In addition, the Executive Order directs the EPA and the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture to coordinate actions at the federal level while providing policy and technical assistance to states to promote investments in industrial energy efficiency. The Executive Order also directs agencies to foster a national dialogue through ongoing regional workshops to encourage the adoption of best practice policies and investment models. See the White House press release.

Federal Electronics Stewardship Efforts Honored

The Energy Department received one-third of the 33 Federal Electronics Challenge Awards announced on August 13 by the EPA and the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive. Federal facilities from 10 different federal agencies were honored for activities that fostered greenhouse gas emissions reductions equivalent to taking 6,000 passenger cars off the road for a year. The 2012 winners completed a variety of electronics stewardship activities in fiscal year 2011, including purchasing more than 105,000 green electronics and enabling power saving sleep features on more than 97% of their computers and monitors.
Three of the ten Platinum Awards, the highest level, went to Energy Department facilities: the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon; the East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado. Two of the five Gold Awards, the second-place honors, went to Energy Department facilities: the National Nuclear Security Administration, Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the department’s Richland Operations Office, Richland, Washington. Six of the 18 total winners in the Silver and Bronze award categories were also from the Energy Department. See the EPA press release and the complete list of winners.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Shedding Light on the Solar Decathlon 2013 Teams

While many students are getting ready for school, teams of university and college students around the globe have been hard at work this summer creating solar-powered houses as part of the Energy Department’s 6th biennial Solar Decathlon.
In January, we announced the 20 teams for the 2013 competition. More than six months later, the teams are in full swing designing and building energy-efficient solar houses that will compete in 10 contests to gauge their energy consumption, affordability, and ease of living. For most contests, we will have to wait for the judging in October 2013 to learn how teams are doing. But the Communications Contest provides an inside look at how teams are progressing. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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Free radicals

Free radicals

In the body, free radicals are produced when oxygen combines with complex
metabolic molecules. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules ready to
react with anything they can. When they react, the result is called “oxidation.”
Once the oxidation process begins, it can produce a chain reaction that generates
more free radicals.

 
Oxidation in the human body is the same thing that happens to metal when
it rusts. The rusting or oxidation can destroy a strong piece of metal in just a few
years. By painting the metal or putting on a rust-inhibiting product you can prevent
rusting. This is the same thing that antioxidants are doing to the “rusting”
in our bodies—preventing oxidation and keeping them strong. Like the rust
inhibiting product which prevents the metal’s cells from oxidizing and degrading,
antioxidants prevent our body’s cells from oxidizing and degrading. Fortunately
for our bodies (and our health), antioxidants are capable of joining with oxidizing
free radicals, thus rendering them harmless.
There is a very easy and interesting experiment you can do in your home
that shows what oxidation is all about: Take an apple and cut it in half. Now take
a lemon and cut it in half and drip the lemon juice on one half of the apple. Drip
it all over the cut side of the apple, and leave the other apple half as is with no
lemon juice. Keep the two halves at room temperature for an hour or two, then
look at both halves: The half with the lemon juice will look pretty much the same
as it did when it was cut; the half without the lemon juice will probably be turning
brown and “going bad.” If you leave them out longer, the difference will
become more pronounced. This is oxidation and antioxidant protection happening
before your eyes. The unprotected half is oxidizing quickly. The half with
lemon juice is oxidizing very slowly or not at all because of the antioxidants present
in the lemon juice. Lemons have Vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids.
CCRES ALGAE PROJECT 
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Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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Invest in Milking Microbes

From Bacteria to Biofuel,

Invest in Milking Microbes

What if we could take a soil bacteria and tinker with its genes to create a biofuel much in the same way that a cow produces milk? Well, we can, or at least a team of scientists has figured out how to do it, and the next step is figuring out how to make it happen on a commercial scale.

The common soil bacterium Raistonia eutropha produces complex carbon compounds when stressed, and according to MIT, its scientists have engineered the bacterium’s genes to produce isobutanol, which can be substituted for or blended with gasoline.

When the bacterium is stressed it stops growing and uses the energy to produce fuel, expelling the fuel rather than storing it up, which means that it scientists can figure out how to do this on a commercial scale it would be less costly than other ways of producing biofuel. Why? Because typically a microorganism producing biofuel is destroyed in the extraction process. This genetically tweaked bacterium simply expels and continues to produce.
Earlier this month, MIT scientist Christopher Brigham detailed the findings, along with his co-author, in the Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology journal. The team is led by professor of biology Anthony Sinskey.
According to Brigham, the bacterium is enters into a carbon-storage mode when its source of essential nutrients (nitrate or phosphate) is restricted. “What it does is take whatever carbon is available, and stores it in the form of a polymer, which is similar in its properties to a lot of petroleum-based plastics.”

So now that the MIT team has succeeded in tinkering with the bacterium’s genes enough to get it to convert carbon into isobutanol, the next step is to figure out how to optimize the process to increase the rate of production and design bioreactors to scale the process to industrial levels.
It’s all about transport, Brigham notes in the journal, and the most significant aspect of this discovery is that “we didn’t have to add a transport system to get [the fuel] out of the cell.”
Another key element of success is the production of isobutanol, as compared with other biofuels. The benefit of isobutanol is that it can be used in cars without modifications, as a direct substitute for gasoline, and in fact, according to scientists, has already been used in race cars.

What are the chances of bringing production to industrial levels? In theory, pretty good. In a press release, MIT quotes Mark Silby, assistant professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, as saying, “This approach has several potential advantages over the production of ethanol from corn. Bacterial systems are scalable, in theory allowing production of large amounts of biofuel in a factory-like environment.”
Furthermore, Silby adds, “This system in particular has the potential to derive carbon from waste products or carbon dioxide, and thus is not competing with the food supply.”

It’s a risky investment while the industrial-scale potential is still unknown, but sooner than later someone will figure out how to make this viable and then it will take the biofuels market by storm. The US Department of Energy has its money on success, as the research is being funded by its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). And we agree that while the risk is great, the potential is greater.

By. Oilprice.com Analysts

CCRES ALGAE PROJECT
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Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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