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Uzgoj algi u Republici Hrvatskoj

Uzgoj algi u Republici Hrvatskoj

Alge se danas sve više koriste u proizvodnji biodizela, bioplina, bioplastike te goriva za zrakoplove, ali i u prehrambenoj industriji. Kao dodatni proizvodi pri destiliranju ulja iz algi dobivaju se i korisni sastojci za farmaceutiku, kozmetiku, ili kao organska gnojiva. Alge su do nedavno bile uglavnom predmet znanstvenih i laboratorijskih istraživanja, no danas su proizvodni pogoni rasprostranjeni po sve većem broju zemalja. Australija se posljednjih nekoliko godina profilira kao “Saudijska Arabija biodizela ekstrahiranog iz algi”, prije svega zahvaljujući efikasnom spoju klimatskih i terenskih uvjeta te mudre vladine politike i razumijevanja za veliki komercijalni potencijal tog novog ekološki čistog izvora energije.

Kada je u ljeto ove godine u australskom New South Walesu, tamošnji ministar energetike službeno otvorio prvu veliku elektranu koja destiliranjem zelenih algi dobiva biogorivo, interes svjetskih medija još više se okrenuo ka tom novom, alternativnom izvoru energije, koji ujedno nudi i dio odgovora na pitanje suočavanja svijeta s daljnjim posljedicama klimatskih promjena.

Dosadašnja nastojanja korištenja algi kao energenata
Australija, međutim, nije bila prva. Potaknuto naftnim šokovima, Američko ministarstvo energije još je 1970-ih godina započelo s projektima istraživanja moguće komercijalizacije uzgoja algi, no zbog previsokih cijena i nekonkurentnosti sa tada niskom cijenom sirove nafte projekti su dvadesetak godina kasnije obustavljeni. Tek s naglim porastom cijene nafte na svjetskom tržištu do preko 100 USD po barelu, mogućnosti novih tehnologija učinile su spektar obnovljivih izvora znatno atraktivnijim, uključujući i uzgoj algi. No procjene jednog od vodećih američkih instituta u tom području, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, su da barel biogoriva proizvedenog iz algi košta između 240 i 332 USD (2010), što je i dalje ekonomski neopravdano u odnosu na naftu. Uska ekonomska računica, naravno ne uključuje i brojne druge prednosti dobivanja biogoriva iz algi.

Američko ministarstvo energije sredinom prošlog mjeseca izabralo je Sveučilište u Arizoni za koordinatora projekta u okviru javno-privatnog partnerstva u visini od 15 milijuna USD s ciljem pronalaženja optimalnog modela komercijalizacije uzgoja algi i proizvodnje biogoriva. Projekt nazvan ”ATP²” podrazumijeva povezivanje sveučilišnih istraživačkih potencijala sa svim zainteresiranim tvrtkama u području energetike. Ključnu znanstvenu ulogu imaju danas vodeći svjetski centri za uzgoj algi na Colorado državnom sveučilištu te u okviru Arizona centra za tehnologiju i inovacije uzgoja algi (Algal Growth System).

Američka nacionalna asocijacija za alge upravo je ovih dana održala godišnji simpozij namijenjen svim poduzetnicima koji planiraju investirati i upustiti se u proizvodnju bioenergije iz algi. Interes za programe obuke eksponencijalno raste.

Američka tvrtka Aurora Algae objavila je prije nekoliko dana kako, nakon uspješnih pilot istraživanja, kreće s novim velikim projektom uzgoja algi u zapadnom području Australije na planiranoj površini od 400 hektara na kojoj kani proizvesti 600 metričkih tona biomase mjesečno. Tvrtka procjenjuje da je tamošnja klima, broj sunčanih dana, te razumijevanje i podrška australske vlade za nove alternativne izvore hrane i energije bili odlučujući faktori za tamošnju investiciju od oko 300 milijuna USD.

Royal Dutch Shell se još prije par godina povezao sa novom vladinom start-up tvrtkom HR Biopetroleum na jednom havajskom otoku s namjerom uzgoja algi na 100,000 hektara koristeći bazene s morskom vodom. Nedostaci tog projekta potaknuli su nove tehnologije uzgoja algi, pri čemu se kao vodeća profilirala tvrtka „Vertigo“ sa svojim „Bio Reactor Systemom“ koji alge uzgaja u plastičnim plosnatim balonima koji vise u staklenicima. Takva proizvodnja povećala je prinos za preko jedne trećine u odnosu na uzgoj u otvorenim bazenima. Sunčeva svjetlost dosezala je znatno veću površinu algi nego kad su na površini vode. Tim modelom, nakon ekstrakcije ulja, ostatak se koristi kao stočna hrana ili u proizvodnji celuloznog etanola. Kanadska tvrtka ”International Energy” otišla je jedan tehnološki korak dalje i razvila sustav koji iz algi izvlači ulje bez da ih pri tome ubija.

„Lufthansa“ je, također, među prvima prepoznala komercijalni interes i sredinom rujna ove godine potpisala ugovor s američko-australskom tvrtkom „AlgeaTec“ za izgradnju nove bioelektrane koja bi zelene alge pretvarala u gorivo za njihove zrakoplove.

Što čini alge tako atraktivnim energentom?
Alge rastu i do stotinu puta brže od biljnih kultura koje se tradicionalno koriste za proizvodnju biogoriva. Alge apsorpcijom sunca i CO2 proizvode ugljikohidrate koji se jednostavno pretvaraju u biodizel ili bioplin, koji se zatim postojećom infrastrukturom lako prevozi na daljnje korištenje. Uzgoj algi ne traži ni zemlju niti pitku vodu, što dodatno povećava atraktivnost takvih projekata.

Uzgoj algi i njihova prerada u biogorivo ne luči nikakve štetne plinove i bezopasne su za okoliš. Alge konzumiraju CO2 i time još dodatno smanjuju zagađenje, tako da je njihovo instaliranje i uzgoj optimalan upravo gdje postoji veća količina ugljičnog dioksida, a to naravno mogu biti i gradska okruženja. Jednako tako, idealne lokacije mogle bi biti i neposredno uz neku klasičnu elektranu na kruta goriva ili postrojenje za preradu otpadnih voda gdje bi se alge dodatno opskrbljivale nitratima i fosfatima. No glavna prednost korištenja algi jest da se uzgajališta mogu instalirati praktički bilo gdje na svijetu gdje je dovoljno sunca. Pomislimo li na ogromna prostranstva Afrike i relativno jednostavni proces instaliranja takvih sustava, logično se nameće potreba da se tehnologija uzgoja i prerada algi pokuša što više popularizirati i približiti onima koji bi od nje mogli imati najveće neposredne koristi.

Alge kao moguće rješenje prehrane stanovništva
U nedavnom izvješću FAO-a upozorava se, naime, kako u svijetu danas gladuje preko 870 milijuna ljudi, te kako proizvodnja hrane postaje ključni globalni prioritet. Tradicionalna poljoprivredna proizvodnja je vrlo slabo prilagođena klimatskim promjenama i porastu temperature kao i naglim i nepravilnim oscilacijama ključnih klimatskih parametara. Dovoljno je samo jednokratno naglo zahlađenje ili prejaki toplinski val da dođe do uništavanja plodova. Jednako teške posljedice donose i sve češće oluje te velike količine padalina i popratne poplave. Proces fotosinteze moguć je samo unutar određenih temperaturnih raspona, što znači da opada iznad 35 stupnjeva celzija, a praktički prestaje iznad 40 stupnjeva. Isto pravilo vrijedi i za proces polenizacije.

Značaj korištenja algi slijedom njihovog energetskog i prehrambenog potencijala neki podižu i na razinu nacionalne sigurnosti. Tako Mark Edward, ugledni profesor sa već spomenutog Sveučilišta u Arizoni, koji je upravo objavio novu knjigu „Mikrofarme mira: Strategija zelene alge za prevenciju rata” zastupa tezu da će se zbog posljedica klimatskih promjena te porasta svjetske populacije sve više ratova u budućnosti voditi zbog nestašice pitke vode i hrane, odnosno zbog tuđe plodne zemlje na kojoj se može uzgajati potrebna hrana. Kao moguće rješenje za izbjegavanje sukoba, on sugerira upravo mikrofarme za uzgoj zelenih algi i mikro-sjemenki uz primjenu novih visokih tehnologija uzgoja. Cijena instaliranja takvih farmi, uz primjenu danas već poznatih novih tehnologija uzgoja, kao i educiranje onih koji će s njima upravljati neusporedivo je manja nego cijena vođenja sukoba ili post-ratne obnove.

Profesor Edward u svojoj novoj knjizi navodi kako je ključni problem klasične poljoprivrede u tome što se temelji na zemlji i korijenju. Biljke naime oko 30 posto ukupne dostupne energije troše upravo na korijenje, četvrtinu na stabljiku i preko trećine na sjemenje. U nedostatku dovoljnih izvora energije, biljka će kao prioritete postaviti korijenje zbog izvora vlastite prehrane te samu stabljiku kao strukture na kojoj se nalazi sjemenje. U konačnici, upravo sjemenje najviše trpi pri nedostatku energije i potrebne vode.

Sve biljke na zemlji nastale su iz alga u procesu koji je započeo prije 500 milijuna godina. Alge, za razliku od biljaka na zemlji, nisu toliko podložne klimatskim promjenama jer su gotovo potpuno neovisne o zemlji, a njihova struktura ne uključuje “suvišne” dijelove koji troše veliki dio dostupne energije.

Proizvodnja hrane, a primarno žitarica, zahtijeva iznimno velike površine plodne zemlje, a samo jedna tona zrna žitarica zahtijeva preko 10,000 tona vode. Uspješni uzgoj sjemenja i bilja traži i iznimno velika sredstva uložena u umjetna gnojiva. Samo cijena fosfora koji se masovno koristi u poljoprivredi porasla je za čak 7 puta u posljednjih dvije godine. Zaštita bilja i žitarica traži i velike iznose uložene u pesticide i različita sredstva koja dodatno podižu cijenu proizvodnje hrane. Pri proizvodnji genetski modificirane hrane potrebna je i veća količina vode. Umjetna gnojiva pak vrlo brzo propadnu na dubinu znatno ispod korijenja bilja što im naravno smanjuje učinkovitost. Tome treba dodati kako se tek oko 5 posto pesticida učinkovito iskoristi, dok praktički velika većina propada u zemlju i truje podzemne vode, čineći iznimno velike štete širem području. Površine pesticide pak raznosi vjetar i dodatno zagađuje okoliš.

Nove znanstvene spoznaje i suvremeni pristupi poljoprivrednoj proizvodnji temeljeni na zemlji, prema profesoru Edwardu, ne pridonose značajno povećanju efikasnosti proizvodnje, niti rješavaju ključno pitanje velikih nestašica hrane s kojima će se čovječanstvo suočiti. Zato se u posljednje vrijeme sve više pozornosti pridaje mogućim promjenama globalne strategije proizvodnje hrane, prema novim oblicima prehrambene proizvodnje koji ne bi ovisili o klimatskim promjenama i vremenskim uvjetima.

Prijedlog rješenja nudi se u instaliranju alternativnih mikrofarmi koje bi proizvodile 20 do 30 puta više alternativne hrane po hektaru nego klasične žitarice uzgojene na zemlji. Umjesto klasičnih modela uzgoja s korištenjem umjetnih gnojiva, pesticida i navodnjavanja, model mikorfarmi nudi okretanje ka sunčevoj energiji, ugljičnom dioksidu i steriliziranim otpadnim vodama. Mikro-plodovi koji se mogu uzgajati uključuju široki spektar različitih mikroorganizama kao što su alge, gljive, planktoni i drugo.

Hrvatska i energetski potencijal uzgoja zelenih algi
Hrvatski centar obnovljivih izvora energije (HCOIE) godinama promiče sve prednosti korištenja alternativnih izvora energije, pa tako i korištenje energije iz zelenih algi.  Upravo s tim ciljem osnovan je i poseban Hrvatski centar za biogorivo iz alga. Iako su alge vrlo otporne na različite klimatske uvjete, idealnim se smatra umjerena temperatura u rasponu od 20-30 stupnjeva celzija uz puno sunčanih dana.

Hrvatskoj je, naravno, potrebno više stručnjaka upućenih u to područje, ali i snažniji poduzetnički duh te adekvatno zakonodavstvo i mehanizam koji bi poticali razvoj svih novih alternativnih tehnologija za korištenje novih i obnovljivih izvora energije. Prije svega potrebno je bolje informirati javnost o svim novim globalnim trendovima, kako u području obnovljivih izvora energije, tako i o novim tehnologijama proizvodnje hrane.

Prije nekoliko godina njemački istraživački tim sa Sveučilišta u Bremenu predložio je da se na području od 20-30 km uzduž mediteranske obale izgradi serija bioreaktora u kojima bi alge apsorbirale CO2 i proizvodile čistu bioenergiju. Područje s dosta sunca i blizu mora idealna je lokacija za takve energetske instalacije. Iako je njihova prvobitna ideja podrazumijevala jug Španjolske, nema naravno nikakvih razloga da i Hrvatska, ukoliko pokaže interes za takve projekte ne pokuša pronaći zainteresirane investitore. Činjenica da su klimatski uvjeti idealni za instaliranje uzgajališta algi, da je njihov uzgoj i prerada u biogorivo ekološki potpuno prihvatljiv, te da uzgoj algi neposredno potiče i razvoj niza pratećih industrija (farmaceutska, kozmetička, prehrambena) sigurno bi trebala naići na određenu pozornost onih koji sudjeluju u kreiranju buduće energetske slike zemlje. Budući da se alge hrane sa CO2 , instaliranje njihovih uzgajališta neki povezuju i sa neposrednom blizinom klasičnih elektrana na ugljen ili kruta goriva, jer zajedno čine sinergiju koja je ekološki iznimno prihvatljiva.

Primjer venecijanskog zaljeva i problem tamošnjih algi poučan je primjer inovativnog pristupa problemima. Početkom 1990-ih godina, nagomilane alge počele su se komercijalno koristiti u proizvodnji specijalnih papira. Prije dvije godine grupa talijanskih stručnjaka predložila je da se alge nagomilane u Venecijanskom zaljevu iskoriste i za proizvodnju čak 40 MW energije, odnosno polovicu ukupno potrebne energije za opskrbu centra grada. Talijanska vlada je tada odlučila uložiti čak 200 milijuna eura  za ekološki projekt kojim bi se iskoristio energetski potencijal nakupljenih algi te ujedno značajno smanjila emisija štetnih plinova. Taj projekt trebao bi ujedno biti i prvi konkretan veliki primjer efikasne komercijalizacije morskih algi u jednoj urbanoj sredini.

Početkom 2012. godine osnovan je konzorcij od 12 organizacija iz 6 mediteranskih zemalja (Italija, Grčka, Cipar, Malta, Libanon i Egipat) financirana većim dijelom iz EU ENPI fondova koji bi istražio mogućnost komercijalnog korištenja morskih algi u proizvodnji energije. Vjerojatno ne postoji poseban razlog da se i Hrvatska aktivnije ne uključi u niz sličnih inovativnih međunarodnih projekata.

Budući da alge vjerojatno mnoge ipak najprije asociraju na gadljive zelene naslage koje ometaju kupanje na jadranskim plažama, utoliko je korisno bolje upoznati i popularizirati mogućnost njihovog korištenja i u neke vrlo korisne svrhe. Možda je uzgoj algi jedan od budućih inovacijskih iskoraka toliko nam potrebnog poduzetničkog duha, tim više što su uvjeti za njihov uzgoj u Hrvatskoj iznimno dobri.

 Autor/izvor:  dr.sc. Damir Kušen, veleposlanik RH u Finskoj

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SPIRULINA

SPIRULINA

photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA
Spirulina   is simply  the  world’s most  digestible  natural  source  of  high quality  protein,  far  surpassing the  protein bio availability of even beef  ( which  most  people  consider  to  be  th e  #1 source of  protein ). The  digestive  absorption  o f  each  gram  of  protein  in  spirulina  is  four  times  greater  than  the  same  gram  of   protein   in   beef.  And   since   spirulina   already   contains   three   times   more   protein  ( by  weight )  to   begin   with,   the   net result is   that  , ounce   for   ounce, spirulina   offers   twelve   times   more  digestible   protein     than   beef.
That’s   an astounding   difference.
 
photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA
 It   means    that   spirulina   is   the   ideal  food  source   for   people   working  to  get   more  protein   into  their diets :
•  People on low-carb, high-protein diets.
• People who exercise vigorously or engage in strength training.
• People who are frail, who have trouble gaining weight, or who are malnourished.
 
photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA
In   fact,   there’s   probably   no  better single food  source  on  the  planet  than  spirulina  for  these  people.  The  protein   found   in  spirulina   is  also   a complete  protein,  meaning   that   it  contains  all eight  essential   amino acids, unlike  beans, whole   grains   and other  plant- based   foods   that   typically   lack  one  or  more  amino acids.
 
photo         by       CCRES      SPIRULINA
CCRES ALGAE PROJECT
 part of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES August 23, 2012

 

 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources 

News and Events August 23, 2012

New Public-Private Partnership to Support U.S. Manufacturing Innovation

 

The Obama Administration announced on August 16 the launch of a new public-private institute for manufacturing innovation. The new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, was selected through a competitive process to receive an initial award of $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium. The consortium includes manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia “Tech Belt.”
On March 9, 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion to catalyze a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs for manufacturing. The President called on Congress to act on this proposal and create the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation. Five federal agencies—the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA—jointly committed to invest $45 million in a pilot institute on additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital model. See the White House press release.

 

Energy Department Partnership to Certify Zero Net-Energy Ready Homes

 

The Energy Department on August 20 announced a new partnership between its Challenge Home program and the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) on a voluntary certification process for energy-efficient homes. The partnership will streamline certifications for homes that can offset most or all of their utility bills with a small renewable energy system. These homes are referred to as “zero net-energy ready” homes. Home builders participating in these certification programs gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by providing their customers with homes featuring energy savings, among other benefits.
The Energy Department’s Challenge Home program certifies homes that are 40% to 50% more energy efficient than typical homes. It also helps to minimize the risk of indoor air quality problems and ensures compatibility with renewable energy systems. Through the Challenge Home program and its original Builders Challenge specifications, the Department has certified more than 13,500 homes, which are saving consumers more than $10 million each year. Among these certified homes, more than 1,350 are considered zero net-energy ready homes based on Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores of 55 or lower. PHIUS certifies building designs that are 65% to 75% more energy efficient than a typical new home, even before installing renewable energy systems. PHIUS has also trained nearly 400 construction professionals to build these homes. See the Energy Department Progress Alert.   
 

USDA Funds Boost Renewable Energy Production

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 14 announced that 106 projects in 29 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico have been selected to receive funding for the production of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. Funding comes through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
One example of a selected project is in Washington County, Iowa, where a recipient is receiving a guaranteed loan to construct a 50 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at his agricultural business. The turbine is expected to generate approximately 103,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually—enough to meet the annual requirements of nine homes. WTE-Dallmann LLC in Calumet, Wisconsin, is another recipient of a REAP grant to help fund the installation of an anaerobic digester that will generate more than 4.8 million kWh of electricity—power for about 420 homes annually. The electricity will be sold to the local utility. See the USDA press release and the complete list of projects PDF.

 

FERC Awards License for Oregon Wave Power Station

 

Photo of a metal buoy bobbing in the ocean.

Ocean Power Technologies, which launched a device to convert wave energy off Hawaii’s coast in 2009, plans to tap wave power off the Oregon coast.
Credit: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc
Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) announced on August 20 that its subsidiary has received approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a planned 1.5 megawatt wave power station off the Oregon coast. This is the first FERC license for a wave power station issued in the United States. The license provides a regulatory approval for the deployment of up to 10 OPT devices, generating enough electricity for approximately 1,000 homes.
Construction of the initial 150-kilowatt device is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for deployment about 2.5 miles off the Reedsport, Oregon coast later this year. The wave energy converter consists of an open steel cylinder extending downward into the ocean from a floating buoy. A piston is located midway down the cylinder, and as waves pass, the piston moves up and down along the cylinder, applying pressure to seawater-filled hoses that eject high-pressure seawater into a turbine, which drives a generator to produce power.
OPT has received funding for this first system from the Energy Department with the support of the Oregon Congressional delegation and from PNGC Power, an Oregon-based electric power cooperative. Specifically, FERC has granted a 35-year license for grid-connected wave energy production. After the initial device is deployed, OPT plans to construct up to nine additional devices and grid connection infrastructure, subject to receipt of additional funding and all necessary regulatory approvals. See the OPT press release.

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Building the Largest U.S. Energy Efficiency Project

 

The popular expression “go big or go home” means to go all the way. And an energy efficiency project at a paper manufacturer in Longview, Washington, went so big that it’s thought to be the largest of its kind in the United States, ever. It’s so big that the energy experts at ESource, who answer thousands of energy-related questions every year, couldn’t find a reported project that’s saved more energy.
NORPAC is the largest newsprint and specialty paper mill in North America. Its 33-year-old mill produces 750,000 tons of paper a year and on a daily basis makes enough paper to stretch a 30-foot-wide sheet from their Northwest mill all the way to Miami, Florida. NORPAC is the largest industrial consumer of electricity in the State of Washington, requiring about 200 average megawatts of power—roughly 100 times more power than an average household uses in an entire month. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

 
 
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CCRES THIRD GENERATION BIOFUELS FROM ALGAE

CCRES THIRD GENERATION BIOFUELS FROM ALGAE

 

THIRD GENERATION BIOFUELS FROM ALGAE
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) have a new technology with major potential to contribute to the fight against climate change.As with all new technologies, careful consideration of potential impacts on the environment and human health is important.
The international community has acknowledges that global warming needs to be kept below 2˙C (3,6˙F) compared with the pre industrial temperature in order to prevent dangerous climate change.This will require significant reductions in the world´s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) over the coming decades.CCRES have one of the technologies that can help to achieve this.
The EU, which is responsible for around 11% of global GHG emissions today, has put in place binding legislation to reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.Europe is also offering to scale up this reduction to 30% if other major economies in the developed and developing world´s agree to undertake their fair share of a global reduction effort.
This is why the EU must support alternative fuels, in particular biofuels, with the triple objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, diversifying fuel supply and developing longterm replacements for fossil fuels.
Third generation biofuels from algae will have an important role to play as soon as they are ready for the market. They should be more sustainable, boasting both a lower enviromental impact and lower costs.Biofuels must become a commercial and competitive product using the broadest range possible of raw materials from both Nord and South Europe.
Biofuels from algae have a big role to reduce CO2 emmisions.
The sustainability of algae biofuels and their potential impacts on other sectors, including land use, are will remain critical issues.Algae biofuels provide an important contribution towards climate change mitigation and security of supply.They are only part of the solution, and must be considered in a wider context, in which efforts are also being made to reduce transport demand, improve transport efficiency and encourage the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport.
CCRES INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
CCRES international cooperation in algae biofuels research has a number of benefits for all involved:
  • working together enhances synergies between the different partners
  • partners can pool financial resources, share risk and set common standards for large or relatively risky research and development project
  • it speeds up the development of the clean technologies we need if we are to tackle our energy related problems
  • by linking up their efforts, partners can support a wider range of energy technologies and reduce the costs of key technologies
  • networking allows partners to better coordinate their energy research agendas
Over the years, CCRES has build up strong and lasting research cooperation partnerships on specific energy topics with partner organizations.
Zeljko Serdar
President & CEO
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES August 16, 2012

 

 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events August 16, 2012

Energy Department Invests in Materials for Vehicle Fuel Economy

The Energy Department on August 7 announced it awarded $8 million for seven new projects to create stronger and lighter materials for the next generation of U.S. vehicles. These projects include the development and validation of modeling tools to deliver higher performing carbon-fiber composites and advanced steels, as well as research into new lightweight, high-strength alloys for energy-efficient vehicle and truck engines.
The projects in Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, and Washington will help provide additional technologies and innovations that will enable manufacturers to continue to improve vehicle fuel efficiency beyond the regulated levels. Advanced materials are essential for boosting the fuel economy of cars and trucks while maintaining and improving safety and performance. Replacing cast iron and traditional steel components with lightweight materials—including advanced high-strength steel, magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber composites—allows vehicle manufacturers to include additional safety devices, integrated electronic systems, and emissions control equipment on vehicles without increasing their weight. Using lighter materials also reduces a vehicle’s fuel consumption.
The new investments support materials innovation in two critical areas. The first area has two projects designed to improve carbon fiber composites and advanced steel through computational design. For example, the department is investing $6 million to develop new modeling tools to advance third-generation high-strength steels. Through this project, United States Automotive Materials Partnership, based in Detroit, Michigan, will leverage an additional $2.5 million in private investment to help create modeling tools for deploying high-strength steels for lighter passenger vehicles. The second area is advanced alloy development for automotive and heavy-duty engines. Caterpillar Inc., based near Peoria, Illinois, is leveraging an Energy Department award of $3.4 million, as well as $1.5 million in private investment, to develop high-strength, iron-based alloys to allow for higher cylinder pressures and increased engine efficiency. See the Energy Department press release and the complete project list PDF.

 

Army Announces $7 Billion Action to Support Renewable Energy

 

The U.S. Army announced on August 7 that it has issued a $7 billion Request for Proposal to procure renewable and alternative energy on federal property through power purchase agreements. The $7 billion capacity would be expended for the purchase of energy over 30 years or less from renewable energy plants that are constructed and operated by contractors using private sector financing. Contracts will be awarded to both large and small businesses among four different renewable energy technologies: solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.
Project locations may be on any federal property located within the United States, U.S. territories, or other property under the control of the U.S. government. The solicitation will be available for 60 days, with responses due by October 5. These contracts are part of a U.S. Department of Defense goal to get 25% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2025. See the Army press release.

 

Energy Report: U.S. Wind Industry Surges in 2011

 

The Energy Department released a new report on August 14 highlighting strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011. According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, the United States remained one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets in 2011. Wind power represented 32% of all new electric capacity additions in the nation last year, accounting for $14 billion in new investment. Additionally, the report found that the percentage of wind equipment made in the United States also increased dramatically. Nearly 70% of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year was from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35% in 2005.
The report finds that in 2011, roughly 6,800 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid, a 31% increase from 2010 installations. The nation’s wind power capacity reached 47,000 MW by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 MW, or enough electricity to power 13 million homes annually. The country’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity grew 16% from 2010, and has increased more than 18-fold since 2000. The report also finds that six states now meet more than 10% of their total electricity needs with wind power.
According to industry estimates, the wind sector employs 75,000 American workers, including workers at manufacturing facilities up and down the supply chain, as well as engineers and construction workers who build and operate the wind farms. Despite recent technical and infrastructure improvements and continued growth in 2012, the report finds that 2013 may see a dramatic slowing of domestic wind energy deployment due in part to the possible expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives, including the Production Tax Credit and the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. See the Energy Department press release and the complete reportPDF.

 

White House Expedites Seven Major Renewable Energy Projects

 

The Obama Administration on August 7 announced that seven significant solar and wind energy projects in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming will be expedited. Together, these infrastructure projects would produce nearly 5,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power approximately 1.5 million homes.
As a part of a Presidential Executive Order issued this year, the Office of Management and Budget is charged with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective. Among the projects are BP Wind’s proposed Mohave County Wind Farm, to be located on about 47,000 acres of public land in Arizona with the capacity to produce up to 425 MW of electricity, and NextEra’s proposed McCoy Solar Energy project, a solar photovoltaic array that would be situated on 4,893 acres in Riverside County, California, and would produce an estimated 750 MW of solar energy. See the White House press release.

 

Interior Department to Review Proposal for First U.S. Floating Wind Turbine

 

Photo of a large wind turbine in the ocean.

A Statoil Hywind turbine in place off Norway’s coast. Credit: Trude Refsahl, Statoil
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on August 9 announced it will begin reviewing a proposal to build what would be the nation’s first floating wind farm. DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is proceeding with an assessment of Statoil North America’s Hywind Maine project. The proposed wind farm, located about 12 nautical miles off the coast in water about 500 feet deep, would have a 12-megawatt capacity from four wind turbines. The area Statoil North America has requested for a commercial wind lease covers approximately 22 square miles, though the company states that the final park is expected to be closer to 4 square miles after determining its environmental impact and wind resources.
BOEM is seeking public comment on environmental issues related to the proposed leasing, construction, and operation activities in the offshore area through a Notice of Intent to Prepare an environmental impact statement. Publication of a Request for Interest in the Federal Register will open a 60-day public comment period to solicit submissions of indications of competitive interest and additional information on potential environmental consequences and other uses of the proposed lease area. Accordingly, BOEM intends to prepare a statement that will consider the reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with the Hywind Maine project. See the DOI press release, the Statoil proposalPDF, the BOEM public comment Web page, and the Statoil Hywind Web page.

 

Ex-Im Bank to Help Finance U.S. Clean Tech Exports to South Africa

 

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa Ltd. (IDC) on August 7 signed a Declaration of Intent to help advance South African economic development. Under the agreement, Ex-Im Bank will assist in financing up to $2 billion worth of U.S. technologies, products, and services to South Africa’s energy sector, with an emphasis on clean energy development.
The Industrial Development Corp. is a South African national development finance institution meant to promote economic growth and industrial development. The IDC’s primary objectives is to contribute to the creation of balanced, sustainable economic growth in South Africa and on the rest of the continent. See the Ex-Im Bank press release.

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Supercomputing Our Way to a Clean Energy Future

 

These days supercomputing isn’t just for niche applications like unlocking the secrets of dark matter, finding the Higgs boson particle, or helping us understand nuclear weapons without explosive testing. With recent strides in technology and a number of high-profile success stories, advanced computing technology is catching the attention of major companies looking to lower their research and development costs while producing more efficient and more powerful energy technology.
Recently at the Workshop on the Grand Challenges of Advanced Computing for Energy Innovation near Washington, D.C., computing specialists from the private sector, national laboratories, and academia met to share best practices, discuss trends, and determine the future of supercomputing in energy technology.
Computer-assisted design software took engineers from the drawing board to the keyboard decades ago, but the bulk of variable testing still takes place with prototype models with sensors that generate a great deal of data that requires analysis. But what if engineers could develop a virtual prototype and test it under every conceivable condition on a system-wide basis? With help from the national laboratories, energy technology companies are doing just that, and recent collaborative projects and programs have benefitted both the labs and companies.
At the workshop, truck manufacturer Navistar reported significant advances in improving airflow to its vehicles, which increases fuel efficiency and durability. Instead of using expensive wind tunnel testing, Navistar used modeling and simulation software from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to make improvements for a fraction of traditional research costs. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

 
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Antioxidant, Astaxanthin, Beta Carotene

 

 

Glossary

Acetyl-L-Carnitine – is a Carnitine derivative and an ammonium compound derived from the amino acid Lysine. It supports healthy cardiac enzyme levels, heart contractions, circulation, and exercise tolerance, by assisting with the transport of fatty acids into the cell for energy production.
 
Antioxidant – An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation produces free radicals which damage and destroy cells throughout the body.
 
Astaxanthin – is a red carotenoid and a potent antioxidant that is over 500 times more powerful than Vitamin E and 10 – 20 times stronger than other carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene. While found in plants and animals, it is most prevalent in the marine environment and in algae and phytoplankton.
 
Beta Carotene – a carotenoid, supports skin, eyes and the immune system. A safe source of vitamin A.
 
Bilberry – a close relative of blueberry, has a long history of medicinal use for a variety of eye disorders, including poor night vision, eyestrain, and myopia. Shown to improve night vision and may inhibit or reverse degenerative eye disorders. Bilberries contain high levels of anthocyanin pigments, which have been linked experimentally to lowered risk for several diseases, such as those of the heart and cardiovascular system, and eyes.
 
Boswellia Serrata Extract – has a long history in Ayurvedic Medicine as a pain reducing agent
 
Borage Oil – a source of GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), it enhances and supports skin health, studies suggest that it eases common PMS symptoms.
 
Carotenoids – a widespread group of naturally occurring pigments. These compounds are largely responsible for the red, yellow, and orange color of fruits and vegetables i.e. carrots (beta carotene), corn (zeaxanthin), tomato (lycopene) and egg yolk (lutein). Many are powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free radical damage. They are also believed to enhance the function of the immune system.
 
CoQ10 (ubiquinone) – found naturally in the energy-producing center of the cell known as the mitochondria. CoQ10 is involved in the making of an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP serves as the cell’s major energy source. Apart from its important function of providing energy, CoQ10 also stabilizes cell membranes, and as an antioxidant, it destroys free radicals in the body. These unstable molecules can cause damage to normal cells.
 
Eyebright Extract – a wild plant native to Europe. The name eyebright is thought to come from its use as a traditional folk remedy for eye irritation. The active ingredients appear to be the tannins, which are thought to decrease inflammation. 

Free Radical – molecules responsible for damaging tissue and healthy cells.
 
Gamma Linolenic Acid GLA – one of the two main types of essential fatty acids (EFA). These are “good” fats that are as necessary for your health as vitamins. Although essential to human health, EFA’s cannot be made in the body. For this reason, they must be obtained from food. EFAs are needed for normal brain function, growth and development, bone health, stimulation of skin and hair growth, regulation of metabolism, and maintenance of reproductive processes.
 
GMP Certified – Products are produced using current Good Manufacturing Practices certified by the Natural Products Association. Founded in 1936, the NPA represents the interests of manufacturers and retailers of a wide variety of natural products including organic and health foods, natural ingredient cosmetics, sports nutrition products and vitamins, herbs and other dietary supplements.
 
GRAS – Generally Recognized As Safe by the US Food and Drug Administration for all food, beverage and supplement applications
 
 Iron – essential in the formation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Iron assists the memory and helps build resistance to infection, stress and disease
 
Lutein – A yellow carotenoid pigment, found in certain fruits and vegetables as well as egg yolks, lutein is a nutrient with a number of potentially beneficial effects. In people, lutein and zeaxanthin make up most of the pigment in the center of the retina, where vision sensitivity is greatest. Studies suggest that it may play an important role in maintaining healthy vision and preventing eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts by neutralizing free radicals and increasing the density of eye pigment. Lutein may also shield the eyes from the destructive effects of sunlight.
 
Lycopene – a red carotenoid, a fat-soluble pigment found in vegetables, and most commonly found in tomatoes. A number of studies have indicated that a lycopene rich diet lowers the risk of certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
 
N-Acetyl-Cysteine – is a form of the amino acid cysteine, which is commonly found in food and synthesized by the body. It may be beneficial for an inflammatory condition of the inner eyelid, and other eye disorders.
 
Manganese – a trace mineral responsible for activating enzymes responsible for the utilization of several key nutrients including biotin, thiamin, ascorbic acid, and choline. It is a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, facilitates protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and may also participate in the production of sex hormones and maintaining reproductive health.
 
Organic Flaxseed Oil – Flaxseed is the seed from the plant Linum usitatissimum. Oil from the seed is used to make medicine. Flaxseed oil/linseed oil is a rich source of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 
 
Organic Olive Oil – the beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances called polyphenols. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. 
 
Oleoresin – non-solvent oil which helps preserve the stability of Astaxanthin over time.
 
Omega Fatty Acids – reduce inflammation throughout the body, a key factor in the symptoms associated with aging. Scientific research has shown Omega Fatty Acids help relieve pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, support lower blood pressure and can help reduce depression.
 
Phytochemicals – are plant substances with high levels of antioxidants such as Phycocyanin, Zeaxanthin, Beta-Carotene and Chlorophyll. It is the high levels of these Phytochemicals and Phycocyanin in particular that sets Spirulina Pacifica® apart from all other Superfoods.
 
Phycocyanin – a photosynthetic pigment, for liver, kidney and brain health, with immune enhancing and anti-viral properties. Only found in blue-green microalgae like Spirulina.
 
Rice Bran Oil – Oryzan (High Oryzanol) – rich in vitamin E, γ-oryzanol, an antioxidant that may help prevent heart attacks, and phytosterols, compounds believed to help lower cholesterol absorption. Oryzanol may reduce plasma cholesterol, reduce cholesterol absorption, decrease early atherosclerosis, and inhibit platelet aggregation.
 
Spirulina – is a blue-green algae found in high alkaline lakes in Africa and Central America. It is approximately 60% complete, highly digestible protein with the highest levels of beta-carotene found naturally. It has high levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, B Vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
 
Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) – an enzyme that acts as an antioxidant in the body, neutralizing free radicals and helping to repair cells
 
Tocopherols – is the name given to vitamin E by its discoverer, but now a generic term for vitamin E and compounds chemically related to it. Tocopherols are fat-soluble antioxidants, protecting cells from damage, but also seem to have many other functions in the body.
 
Vitamin A – necessary for cell growth, bone growth, good vision, and a healthy immune system.
 
Vitamin K1 & Vitamin K2 – essential vitamins known to promote blood clotting and support bone health. Recent studies have confirmed that Vitamin K2 may help osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.
 
Vitamin B12 – an essential vitamin that is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.
 
Zeaxanthin – a carotenoid and powerful antioxidant that fights free radical damage with specific benefits for eye and cellular health.  Studies support the view that supplemental lutein and/or zeaxanthin help protect against age related eye problems. There is also epidemiological evidence that increasing lutein and zeaxanthin intake lowers the risk of cataract development.
 
CCRES Algae Project
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Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

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The power of Omega-3 oils

 
 

Algae omega-3 fatty acids provide significant health and development benefits during life in the womb. Health and cognitive benefits for omega-3s continue throughout life.
 
Omega-3 oils
Omega-3 oils
 Essential fatty acids are fatty acids critical to the good health and development of fetuses and newborns. Fetal life and early infancy are the periods of rapid brain, eyes, heart, respiratory, central nervous system, and immune system development and maturation. Omega-3s enhance these growth phases and help children avoid major organ disorders. Newborns may get omega-3 fatty acids from mother’s milk, (if the mother absorbs omega-3s in her diet), from the child’s diet, or from supplements.
Neither humans nor animals can synthesize omega-3 oils because bodies lack the desaturase enzymes required for their production. Therefore, if the mother’s diet is deficient in omega-3s, the infant will not benefit from the essential early growth and development support from long chain fatty acids.
 
 
Omega-3s improve Neuron Signaling

 

Omega-3s improve Neuron Signaling

 
Omega-3 oils Omega-3s improve Neuron Signaling
Clinical signs of essential fatty acid deficiency include a dry scaly rash, decreased growth in infants and children, slow or abnormal brain, eye and heart development, increased susceptibility to infection and poor wound healing. Fatty acid deficiency causes pathologies similar to malnutrition.
Most foods contain some fat, even vegetables, because fats play a critical role in metabolism. Fat provides a reliable source of energy as well as an effective depot for stored energy. Fats play an important role in cell membranes, helping to govern nutrients that enter and exit cells during metabolism. When incorporated into phospholipids, fatty acids affect cell membrane properties such as fluidity, flexibility, permeability, and the activity of membrane bound enzymes.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3s are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. Studies have shown that infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision, brain and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
In a recent study, prenatal algal DHA supplementation – 600 mg DHA taken from 14 weeks gestation until delivery – increased DHA blood levels in both the mother and the newborn, as well as increased infant birth weight, length, and head circumference. The DHA supplements improved fetus growth and organ development significantly. Other studies have found that prenatal DHA deficiency may limit infants’ development potential.
The DHA Intake and Measurement of Neural Development (DIAMOND) study found that supplementation with DHA and ARA omega fatty acids from 18 months to six years of age provided significant cognitive benefits. DIAMOND also found that DHA supplementation provided developmental benefits evident to six years of age.
Algae polyphenol extracts have anti-diabetic effects through the modulation of glucose-induced oxidative stress. The extracts slow starch-digestive enzymes such as alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase.  The plentiful soluble dietary fibers in algae help avoid obesity and diabetes. The total fiber content of several algae species, (~6 g/100g), is greater than that of fruits and vegetables promoted today for their fiber content: prunes (2.4 g), cabbage (2.9 g), apples (2.0 g), and brown rice (3.8 g).
The body uses cholesterol as the starting point to make estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D, and other vital compounds. Fats also serve as biologically active molecules that influence how muscles respond to insulin. Various forms of fats, especially Omega-3s, can accelerate or cool down inflammation.

EPA and DHA

Long chained polyunsaturated fatty acids, (PUFA) eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, manage and moderate inflammation and many other cellular functions. These fats influence signaling in cells and the brain and therefore affect mood and behavior.
The US National Institute of Health’s MedlinePlus lists many medical conditions for which EPA alone, or in concert with other omega-3 sources, is known or thought to be an effective treatment. Most medical interventions derive from omega-3 oils’ ability to lower inflammation or enhance cell signaling.

(Left) Anchovy harvested for Fish Oil, (Right) Algae with Omega-3

Omega-3s are often obtained in the human diet by eating oily fish or fish oil— e.g., cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine. It is also found in human breast milk. Fish do not synthesize Omega-3s, but concentrate it from the algae they consume. Omega-3 rich microalgae are cultivated as a commercial source by a few companies such as Martek and Algae Biosciences. Microalgae, and supplements derived from algae, are excellent sources of EPA and DHA, since fish often contain toxins such as mercury and pesticides due to pollution.
DHA comprises 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the brain and 60% of the PUFAs in the retina. Fifty percent of the weight of a neuron’s plasma membrane is composed of DHA. DHA is selectively incorporated into retinal cell membranes and postsynaptic neuronal cell membranes, where it plays important roles in vision and nervous system function. DHA is richly supplied during breastfeeding, and DHA levels are high in breast milk. In humans, DHA is either obtained from the diet or synthesized from eicosapentaenoic acid, (EPA).

Cognitive development

Children that are not exposed to omega-3s in the womb display a significant mental deficit that persists throughout their lives. The human brain requires Omega-3 oils for normal growth and development.

(Left) Human Brain, (Right) Isochrysis Algae with Oil

Review studies suggest that omega-3s positively affect pre-natal neurodevelopment. However, this cognitive-enhancing effect sometimes diminishes post-natally with maturation. Few studies have examined the cognitive effects of omega-3s through childhood, young adulthood, and middle age. At later ages, multiple studies found evidence suggesting that omega-3s can protect against neurodegeneration and possibly reduce the chance of developing cognitive impairment.
Several variables confound PUFA supplements including heredity, diet, mother’s health, and socioeconomics. Supplement treatments in medical studies typically use 1,000 mg of omega-3 per day.
Another important finding is that too much omega-6 oil (found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds), in the diet may interfere with the action of omega-3. Omega-6 seems to compete with Omega-3 PUFA for the desaturase enzymes. Therefore, medical researchers suggest that maximum value of omega-3 supplements will occur if the diet minimizes omega-6 intake.

Summary

Omega-3 fatty acids can enhance fetal life and give children a better start in life with stronger brains, eyes, hearts and respiratory systems. Pregnant women and nursing mothers have the opportunity to gift strong cognitive development to their newborns with either several servings of fish per week or the recommended 1,000 mg of omega-3 supplements per day.
 
CCRES special thanks to  AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com
 
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES August 02, 2012

 

 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources  

News and Events August 02, 2012

Energy Department, USDA Invest in Biofuel Innovations

 

Photo of man touching tall grassy plants.

The Energy Department and USDA are backing 13 projects designed for more efficient biofuels production and feedstock improvements.
Credit: Todd Johnson
The Energy Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on July 25 announced a $41 million investment in 13 projects, including five cost-shared projects, that will drive more efficient biofuels production and feedstock improvements. Through the joint Biomass Research and Development Initiative, USDA and the Energy Department are working to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products.
The five cost-shared projects include one in which the University of Hawaii will optimize the production of island grasses, and their harvest and preprocessing will be made compatible with the biochemical conversion to jet fuel and diesel. The five also include the Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois, which will improve various oilseed crops for oil quality and yield using recombinant inbred lines to help production strategies. See the Energy Department press release and the Biomass Research and Development Initiative website for more information.
The Energy Department and USDA also announced $10 million to support eight research projects aimed at applying biomass genomics to improve promising biofuel feedstocks and drive more efficient, cost-effective energy production. These projects will use genetic mapping to advance sustainable biofuels production by analyzing and seeking to maximize genetic traits such as feedstock durability, tolerance of feedstocks to various environmental stresses, and the potential for feedstocks to be used in energy production. For example, Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, will explore the genetic architecture of sorghum biomass yield component traits identified using field-based analysis of the feedstock’s physical and genetic traits. See the Energy Department press release, the Biomass Research and Development Initiative website, and the list of genomics projects.

 

Maine Unveils Commercial Tidal Energy Project

 

Photo of a bay with boats anchored.

The Cobscook Bay pilot project will provide enough renewable electricity to power between 75 and 100 homes.
Credit: Ocean Renewable Power Company
The Energy Department on July 24 recognized the first commercial, grid-connected U.S. tidal energy project. Leveraging a $10 million investment from the Energy Department, Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) will deploy its first tidal energy device into Cobscook Bay near Eastport, Maine, this summer.
Tidal energy is a clean, renewable resource that can be harnessed wherever changing tides move a significant volume of water, including off the coasts of many U.S. cities where there is high electricity demand. Near Maine, the Bay of Fundy is one of the most robust tidal energy resources in the world, as 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay daily. Initially, the Cobscook Bay pilot project will provide enough renewable electricity to power between 75 and 100 homes. In addition to this Energy Department-supported pilot, ORPC plans to expand its Maine project and install additional tidal energy devices to power more than 1,000 Maine homes and businesses.
Earlier this year, the Energy Department released a nationwide tidal energy resource assessment, identifying about 250 terawatt hours of annual electric generation potential from tidal currents. Tidal power represents a major opportunity for new water power development in the United States, especially along the East Coast, as well as in Alaska and Hawaii. See the Energy Department press release, the Water Power Program website, and the tidal energy resource assessment reportPDF.

 

Energy Star National Building Competition Kicks Off

 

The EPA’s Energy Star program on July 25 launched the 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings with a record 3,200 buildings across the country going head to head to improve energy efficiency, lower utility costs, and protect the environment. U.S. commercial buildings are responsible for about 20% of the nation’s energy use at a cost of more than $100 billion annually in energy bills. In 2011, the 245 participants in the Energy Star competition saved $5.2 million on their utility bills and prevented nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 3,600 homes a year.
More than 30 different types of commercial buildings are facing off, and they represent all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The competitors range from a Kmart store on the island of St. Thomas to a federal office building in Nome, Alaska. The number of participants in the National Building Competition has jumped from 14 buildings in 2010, the competition’s first year, to 245 in 2011, to more than 3,200 this year. Competitors use the Energy Star online tool, Portfolio Manager, to measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption. Last year, the University of Central Florida won after cutting the energy use of an on-campus parking garage by more than 63% in just 12 months’ time. During the competition period, the public can track the progress made by participating buildings on the Web. See the EPA press release and the Energy Star National Building Competition website for more information.

 

NREL Study Shows Renewable Energy Potential in Every State

 

A new study of renewable energy’s technical potential finds that every state in the nation has the space and resources to generate clean energy. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produced the study, U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials, which looks at each state’s available renewable resources for solar, wind, biopower, geothermal, and hydropower energy. The study establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential. Economic or market restraints would factor into what projects might actually be deployed.
The report is valuable for decision makers and utility executives because it compares estimates across renewable energy technologies and unifies assumptions and methods. It shows the achievable energy generation of a particular technology given resource availability, system performance, topographic limitations, and environmental and land-use constraints. The study includes state-level maps and tables containing available land area (square kilometers), installed capacity (gigawatts), and electric generation (gigawatt-hours) for each technology. See the NREL press release and the complete reportPDF.

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

London Olympics Go for the Green with Energy Efficient Design

The 2012 London Olympics are underway, and the 500-acre Olympic Park constructed for the world competition is home to nine brand new sports facilities. With the enormous task of keeping tens of thousands of spectators cool, making sure the lights are on, and ensuring that hundreds of bathrooms are in good working order for the next several weeks, the London 2012 Organizing Committee and the Olympic Delivery Authority set out to build new facilities with energy efficient, sustainable, and recyclable designs. Here’s a rundown on how the London 2012 Olympics is cutting down the watts and water to keep the games clean, green, and energy efficient.
The Velodrome—one of the most iconic and sustainable buildings ever built for an Olympic Games—contains the indoor cycling track. It was built to hold 6,000 people and keep them cool this summer with a completely natural ventilation system using outside air. That’s right—no air conditioning required. In addition, the Velodrome uses natural lighting during the day to supplement fluorescent lighting, saving a lot of energy. Did we mention it collects rainwater for its main water usage with its sloped roof? Savvy indeed. For the complete story read the Energy Blog.
 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

 
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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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