News and Events July 19, 2012
A refuse truck powered by compressed natural gas in Washington state.
Credit: Western Washington Clean Cities
A refuse truck powered by compressed natural gas in Washington state.
Credit: Western Washington Clean Cities
CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) describes a technological process by which the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by large stationary sources – such as coal- fired power plants, steel plants and oil refineries – is prevented from entering the atmosphere.
That’s because it enables at least 90% of these CO2 emissions to be captured, then stored in geological formations – safely and permanently – deep underground (at least 800m). In fact, it uses the same natural trapping mechanisms which have already kept huge volumes of oil, gas and CO2 underground for millions of years.
Currently, all of the CO2 produced by these large stationary sources is released into the atmosphere – directly contributing to global warming.
CCS is the single biggest lever to combat climate change (compared to, for example, energy efficiency which requires many different actions). In fact, CCS has the potential to address almost half of the world’s current CO2 emissions.
Experts estimate that by 2050, CCS could reduce annual CO2 emissions by 0.6 to 1.7 billion tonnes in the EU and by 9 to 16 billion tonnes worldwide. The upper end of this range would require its application to all fossil fuel power plants and to almost all other large industrial emitters – with the large volumes of hydrogen produced used for transport fuel.
In addition to its potential to reduce CO2 emissions on a massive scale, CCS will also provide greater energy security – by making the burning of Europe’s abundant coal reserves more environmentally acceptable and reducing its dependency on imported natural gas. CCS could also facilitate the transition to a hydrogen economy through the production of large volumes of clean hydrogen which that could be used for electricity or transport fuel.
EU demonstration efforts on CCS will not only demonstrate the EU’s commitment to delivering on its own CO2 reduction targets, but spur other countries to do the same – especially large CO2 emitters, such as China, India and the US. As a global solution to combating climate change, CCS could therefore also give a major boost to the European economy – promoting technology leadership, European competitiveness and creating jobs.
CCS consists of three stages:
i. Capture: CO2 is captured and compressed at the emissions site.
ii. Transport: The CO2 is then transported to a storage location.
iii. Storage: The CO2 is permanently stored in geological formations, deep underground.
Each of these stages – capture, transport and storage – can be accomplished in different ways.
i. Capture processes:
Post-combustion: CO2 is removed from the exhaust gas through absorption by selective solvents.
Pre-combustion: The fuel is pre- treated and converted into a mix of CO2 and hydrogen, from which the CO2 is separated. The hydrogen is then used as fuel, or burnt to produce electricity.
Oxy-fuel combustion: The fuel is burned with oxygen instead of air, producing a flue stream of CO2 and water vapour without nitrogen; the CO2 is relatively easily removed from this stream.
ii. Transport options:
Pipelines are the main option for large-scale CO2 transportation, but shipping and road transport are also possibilities.
iii. Storage options:
Deep saline aquifers (saltwater-bearing rocks unsuitable for human consumption)
Depleted oil and gas fields (with the potential for Enhanced Oil Recovery)
5. How long has CCS been in existence?
CO2 capture is already practised on a small scale, based on technology that has been used in the chemical and refining industries for decades.
Transportation is also well understood: it has been shipped regionally for over 17 years, while a 5,000km network has been operating in the USA for over 30 years for Enhanced Oil Recovery.
Small-scale CO2 storage projects have been operating successfully for over a decade, e.g. at Sleipner (Norway), Weyburn (Canada) and In Salah (Algeria). The industry can also build on knowledge obtained through the geological storage of natural gas, which has also been practised for decades.
6. What’s the next step?
This means reducing CO2-equivalent emissions by 50% by 2030. But with world energy demand expected to double by 2030 and renewable energies to make up ~30% of the energy mix by this date, only a portfolio of solutions will achieve this goal. This includes energy efficiency, a vast increase in renewable energy – and CCS.
Around 750 new coal power plants are already planned for the period 2005–2018, totaling more than 350 Gigawatt (GW), of which 50 will be in Europe, almost 300 in China, 200 in India and 50 in the US.
Indeed, every year that CCS is delayed is a missed opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions. Today, we have ~450 parts per million (ppm) CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere, with concentration rising at over 2 ppm per annum. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that if we are to avoid major climate change effects, we must not exceed this 450 ppm. Delaying the implementation of CCS by just 6 years would mean CO2 concentrations increasing by around 10 ppm by 2020.
The incremental costs of the first large-scale CCS demonstration projects will be exceptionally high – too high to be fully justifiable to company shareholders.
That’s because all ‘First Movers’ will incur:
Unrecoverable costs from making accelerated investments in scaling up the technology.
Market risk due to uncertainty over:
a) which CCS technologies will prove the most successful
b) the future CO2 price and
c) construction and operational costs.
Based on an independent study recently undertaken by McKinsey and Company, it is estimated that the total incremental costs of 10-12 CCS demonstration projects would be €7 billion – €12 billion.
Industry has already declared its willingness to cover both the base costs of the power plant (without CCS) and a major portion of the risks of implementing these CCS demonstration activities. Given that it will bring incalculable benefits to both the public and European industry and that these projects are inherently loss-making, public funding has therefore been provided to support 12 industrial-scale CCS projects. Without this, commercialisation will be severely delayed – until at least 2030 in Europe.
The typical cost of a demonstration project is likely to be in the range €60-90 per tonne of CO2 abated. Recent analyst estimates for Phase II of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) range from €30 to €48 per tonne of CO2 and, at this stage, similar levels are assumed beyond Phase II (up to 2030). In this range, the carbon price is insufficient for demonstration projects to be “stand-alone”, commercially viable.
Assuming that CCS demonstration projects would cost between €60 and €90 per tonne of CO2, and projecting a median carbon price of €35 per tonne of CO2, there is an “economic gap” of €25-€55 per tonne of CO2 per project. This corresponds to around €500 million – €1.1 billion, expressed as a Net Present Value (NPV) over the lifespan of a 300MW size power plant. The range depends on variations in specific project variables, such as capture technology and capex, transport distance and storage solutions.
As importantly, EU CCS demonstration efforts will ensure that cross-border projects – where CO2 is stored in a different country or region to where it is captured – are not excluded. As capture and storage locations are unevenly distributed throughout Europe, cross-border pipelines will play a crucial role in the wide-scale deployment of CCS and the development of clusters in major industrial areas as the next key step.
There are four main factors likely to drive the cost increase for retrofits:
The higher capex (capital costs) of the capture facility: the existing plant configuration and space constraints could make adaption to CCS more difficult than for a new build.
The installation’s shorter lifespan: the power plant is already operating so where (for example) a new plant with CCS may run for 40 years, the capture facility of a 20 year-old plant is likely to have only a 20 year life, reducing the “efficiency” of the initial capex.
There is a higher efficiency penalty, leading to a higher fuel cost when compared to a fully integrated, newly-built CCS plant.
There is the “opportunity cost” of lost generating time, because the plant would be taken out of operation for a period to install the capture facility.
13. How can we accelerate the building of CCS projects?
Ideally, 10-12 CCS demonstration projects should be operational by 2015. The first early commercial projects should be operational by 2020, with the remaining demonstration projects sufficiently advanced for early commercial projects to be ordered from 2020 onwards. Some 80-120 large- scale CCS projects could therefore be operational in Europe by 2030.
There are several ways we can fast-track the building of CCS projects:
Starting a commercial project as early as possible during the building of the demonstration project so that – for example – build can start after just one year of the demo being in operation.
Accelerating feasibility studies etc.
Making faster investment decisions
Shortening the tender process
Introducing special measures to shorten the permitting process.
Some projects, by their very nature, will of course be quicker to build than others, e.g. retrofitting existing power plants with CCS; using well-known oil and gas fields with infrastructure and seismic data already available; those with only a short distance from the power plant to the storage site, etc.
One 900 MW CCS coal-fired power plant can abate around 5 million tonnes of CO2 a year. If, as projected, 80-120 commercial CCS projects are operating in Europe by 2030, they would abate some 400 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
By 2050, CCS could reduce annual CO2 emissions by 0.6 to 1.7 billion tonnes in the EU and by 9 to 16 billion tonnes worldwide. The upper end of this range would require its application to all fossil fuel power plants and to almost all other large industrial emitters – with the large volumes of hydrogen produced used for transport fuel.
The absolute efficiency penalty, estimated at around 10% for the reference case (meaning plant efficiency drops from 50% to around 40%), drives an increase in fuel consumption and does require an over- sizing of the plant to ensure the same net electricity output.
However, next-generation technology – such as ultra-supercritical 700°C technology for boilers, coupled with drying in the case of lignite – will achieve a 50% level of overall plant efficiency. While this technology is not currently available, it is expected to be when early commercial CCS projects are built around 2020.
Depleted oil and gas fields
Depleted oil and gas fields are well understood and around a third of total oil and gas field capacity in Europe is estimated to be economically useable for CO2 storage. With an estimated capacity for 10 to 15 billion tonnes of CO2, this is sufficient for the lifetime of around 50 to 60 CCS projects. However, most of these fields are located offshore in northern Europe and the transportation to and storage of CO2 in these fields (excluding capture) is around twice as costly as onshore fields.
Deep saline aquifers
While much less work has been done to map and define deep saline aquifers, most sources indicate that their capacity should be sufficient for European needs overall. Preliminary conservative estimates by EU GeoCapacity indicate that Europe can store some 136 billion tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to around 70 years of current CO2 emissions from the EU’s power plants and heavy industry. At the higher end of these estimations, EU GeoCapacity estimates some 380 billion tonnes of CO2 could be stored in Europe alone.
Higher concentration leaks could come from man-made wells, but the oil and gas industry already has decades of experience in monitoring wells and keeping them secure. Storage sites will not, of course, be located in volcanic areas.
18. But won’t CO2 storage increase the likelihood of seismic activity?
Before a CO2 storage site is chosen, a detailed survey takes place to identify any potential leakage pathways. If these are found to exist then the site will not be selected. In Europe, underground gas storage (natural gas and hydrogen) has an excellent safety record, with sophisticated monitoring techniques that are easily adaptable to CCS. On the surface, air and soil sampling can be used to detect potential CO2 leakage, whilst changes underground can be monitored by detecting sound (seismic), electromagnetic, gravity or density changes within the geological formations.
The risk of leakage through man-made wells is expected to be minimal because they can easily be monitored and fixed, while CO2 leaking through faults or fractures would be localised and simply withdrawn; and, if necessary, the well closed.
The EC has established a Network of CCS demonstration projects to generate early benefits from a coordinated European action.
CCS demonstration projects fulfilling minimum qualification criteria are invited to join the Network and benefit from its operations.
The Network allows early-movers to exchange information and experience from large-size industrial demonstration of the use of CCS technologies, to maximise their impact on further R&D and policy making, and optimise costs through shared collective actions.
It is envisaged that, as the Network evolves, its EU-wide, integrating and binding role may be reinforced and complemented by other measures in support of further development of CCS technologies, building towards the establishment of a European Industrial Initiative.
To help fulfil the potential of CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), the European Commission is sponsoring and coordinating the world’s first network of demonstration projects, all of which are aiming to be operational by 2015. The goal is to create a prominent community of projects united in the goal of achieving commercially viable CCS by 2020.
The CCS Project Network fosters knowledge sharing amongst the demonstration projects and leverage this new body of knowledge to raise public understanding of the potential of CCS. This accelerates learning and ensures that we can assist CCS to safely fulfil its potential, both in the EU and in cooperation with global partners.
To guarantee that the Network is valuable to the wider energy community in Europe, an annual Advisory Forum has been established to review progress and specify the knowledge that can most usefully be generated by the CCS Project Network.
Membership of the CCS Project Network is open to all European projects that are at a sufficient scale and level of maturity that will generate valuable output and knowledge about industrial-scale CCS demonstration.
The application process for membership of the Network is designed to be as simple and transparent as practicable, but sufficiently robust to ensure that all members are large-scale demonstration projects at a similar level of maturity.
Project developers may submit applications at any time to demonstrate that they fulfil the eligibility criteria, can provide evidence of the maturity of the project, commit to knowledge sharing and agree to the Network organisation and procedures. The qualification criteria and application process are described in the Qualification Criteria document. The Network is open to all qualifying projects and will not distinguish between EU-funded and non-EU funded projects.
Projects in the Network shall have sound plans to demonstrate the full CCS value chain by 2015 and shall fulfil the following technical criteria:
Projects in the Network are committed to knowledge sharing with similar projects and other stakeholders in order to help accelerate CCS deployment and raise public engagement, as described in the Knowledge Sharing Protocol document.
To learn more about CCS, please have a look at the following videos, kindly provided by ZEP:
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
News and Events July 12, 2012
A new Energy Department report finds that LED lamps have a significantly lower environmental impact than incandescent lighting and a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The report, LED Manufacturing and Performance, compares these three technologies from the beginning to the end of their life cycles, including manufacturing, operation, and disposal. The most comprehensive study of its kind for LED lamps, the report analyzes the energy and environmental impacts of manufacturing, assembly, transport, operation, and disposal of these three lighting types. It is the first public report to consider the LED manufacturing process in depth. See the LED Manufacturing and Performance report .
This is the second report produced through a larger Energy Department project intended to assess the life-cycle environmental and resource costs of LED lighting products in comparison with traditional lighting technologies. It utilizes conclusions from the previous report, Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps, released in February 2012, to produce a thorough assessment of the manufacturing process. See the Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps report .
The initial report concluded that CFLs and today’s LEDs are similar in energy consumption—both consuming significantly less electricity over the same period of usage than incandescent lighting—and that operating these products consumed the majority of the energy used throughout their life cycles. Similarly, the new report finds that the energy these lighting products consume during operation makes up the majority of their environmental impact, compared to the energy consumed in manufacturing and transportation. Because of their high efficiency—consuming only 12.5 watts of electricity to produce about the same amount of light as CFLs (15 watts) and incandescents (60 watts)—LED lamps were found to be the most environmentally friendly of the three lamp types over the lifetime of the products, across 14 of the 15 impact measures examined in the study. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Solid State Lighting website.
The Energy Department on June 19 recognized three utilities—two in Minnesota and one in California—with the 2012 Public Power Wind Award. Minnesota’s Moorhead Public Service and the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, along with California’s City of Palo Alto Utilities, received the awards. The American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Energy Department’s Wind Powering America initiative created the Public Power Wind Award to recognize APPA-member utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power and furthering energy independence.
Now in its tenth year, the annual award recognizes APPA members in three categories: Small Member System, Large Member System, and Joint Action Agency. Moorhead Public Service received the Small Member System award for its years of leadership in wind energy that began with its pioneering utility-scale wind investments in 1999. The City of Palo Alto Utilities received the Large Member System award for delivering 17% of its energy mix from wind power, and for using wind energy to provide 97.5% of the renewable energy credits the utility uses for its green power program, PaloAltoGreen. And Minnesota Municipal Power Agency received the Joint Action Agency award for installing a wind turbine in each of its member communities, with which it collaborated to develop the 44-megawatt Oak Glen Wind Farm in Steele County, providing enough electricity to power 14,000 homes. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Wind Powering America website.
Increased energy efficiency will contribute to a slowing of the annual growth rate of U.S. energy consumption from 2012 to 2035, expanding at an average annual rate of 0.3%, according to a new study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The agency recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which includes both a reference case and 29 alternative cases. By comparision to the lower projections, the U.S. growth rate of energy consumption was 1.8% in 2005. In the reference case, the share of U.S. energy generation from renewables is projected to grow from 10% to 15%. The report describes how different assumptions regarding market, policy, and technology drivers affect energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends.
According to the report, the slowdown in the rate of growth in energy usage reflects increasing energy efficiency in end-use applications, among other things. In one basic scenario, EIA estimates the overall U.S. energy consumption will expand at an average annual rate of 0.3% through 2035. During this period, the United States won’t return to the levels of energy demand growth experienced in the 20 years prior to the 2008-2009 recession. The authors cite existing federal and state energy requirements and incentives as playing a continuing role in more efficient technologies. Additionally, new federal and state policies could lead to further reductions in energy consumption. The document also examines the potential impact of technology change and the proposed vehicle fuel efficiency standards on energy consumption. See the EIA press release, and the complete report.
The $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink, a 500,000-volt transmission line linking San Diego, California, to the Imperial Valley, is now in service after a five-year permitting process and 18 months of construction. San Diego Gas & Electric announced on June 18 that the line will connect San Diego with one of the most renewable-rich regions in California. For environmental reasons, nearly 75% of the tower locations required helicopters to set the tower structures and it took more than 28,000 flight hours to complete the aerial construction.
The Sunrise Powerlink will soon deliver a significant amount of wind and solar power to San Diego. Over the past three years, San Diego Gas & Electric signed eight renewable energy agreements for more than 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind power from projects in Imperial County. In 2011, more than 20% of the utility’s power came from renewable energy, and by 2020, it will get 33% from renewable resources. See the San Diego Gas & Electric press release.
Global renewable power generation is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next five years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, released on July 5, says that despite economic uncertainties, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable sources is projected to increase by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours by 2017. That amount would be roughly one-and-a-half times the current electricity production in the United States.
The study examines in detail 15 key markets for renewable energy, which currently represent about 80% of renewable generation, while it identifies developments that may emerge in other important markets. Of the 710 gigawatts of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%, with the United States, India, Germany, and Brazil also contributing to the growth. The report presents detailed forecasts for renewable energy generation and capacity for eight technologies: hydropower, bioenergy for power, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power, geothermal, and ocean power. Hydropower is projected to have the largest increase in generation, followed by onshore wind, bioenergy, and solar PV.
This expansion is underpinned by the maturing of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks. However, rapidly increasing electricity demand and energy security needs in recent years have been spurring deployment in many emerging markets. These new deployment opportunities are creating a virtuous cycle of improved global competition and cost reductions. See the IEA press release.
The Forrestal Building, which stands as the centerpiece of the Energy Department’s headquarters complex, has recently undergone a change that will save the U.S. taxpayers an estimated $600,000 every year.
“Through the installation of the new chiller plant, we’re saving money on our air conditioning bills with more efficient equipment while providing much more reliable air conditioning to our critical facilities”, said Peter O’Konski, director for the department’s Office of Administration. “That’s good for our environment, our customers, and our bottom line.”
The chiller plant was constructed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract, a public-private partnership that allowed the department to apply industry best practices and use private financing for the project. The financing costs are recovered from energy savings.
The partnership is also ushering in improvements like LED exterior lights, steam trap repairs and a variable air volume system that are expected to save $59.5 million in the long term. For the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.
By Roland Risser, program manager, Building Technologies Program
Even with the sweltering heat and relaxation that summer usually brings, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is showing no sign of slowing down. This week, the program is hosting the Residential Energy Efficiency Solutions: From Innovation to Market Transformation conference, bringing together approximately 400 administrators and implementers of residential energy efficiency programs and associated stakeholders. Six new case studies, a business models guide and a video showcasing energy efficiency upgrade professionals are debuting at the conference. Each was designed to inspire communities across the country to save money, create new jobs, and foster business opportunities.
The six case studies—profiling successful workforce development and incentive initiatives in Maine, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania—are a great resource for any energy efficiency upgrade professional. Each addresses key topics such as participant recruitment, workforce training, and cost barriers that contractors and consumers face. For the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.
“harmonised methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products”.
Currently, 10 pilot studies are being trail-blazed in the fields of agriculture, retail, construction, chemicals, ICT, food, and manufacturing (footwear, television, paper).
“The new Product Environmental Performance (PEF) standard will only focus on the three most relevant categories and will probably use a grading system,” he told.
This would be “similar to the one used by the energy label, to which the consumers are familiar and have proven to like, based on agreed benchmarks,” Hennon added.
The EU’s energy labelling scheme ensures that most major appliances, light bulb packaging and cars have a label attached, grading their efficiency performance on a scale running from A to G.
A recent EU report found that these labels were “quite familiar to consumers” and easy to understand.
Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the UK Carbon Trust, which measures and provides carbon footprints for companies, was upbeat about expanding the scheme’s methodology.
“Grading systems, such as those used in the EU energy label and elsewhere are well-established and recognised by consumers,” he told.
It was important for certification and labelling schemes “to strike the right balance between providing information while ensuring clear and simple messages to consumers,” he said.
Carbon labelling is a means of providing a complete and independent ‘life cycle assessment’ (LCA) – or carbon footprint – of all the CO2 that has been emitted during the manufacture, use and disposal of a product.
Ideally, it should allow consumers to rest assured that the carbon-labelled product they have bought will do what it says on the tin.
But consumer and environmental groups have criticised current carbon labelling practices for being misleading, confusing, and open to manipulation by corporate interests.
“An LCA is like a black box,” Jürgen Resch of the German environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe, said in October 2010. “If you enter false and invalid data and misleading assumptions into the calculations, you end up with the wrong results.”
“This is what happened with the LCA’s recently published by the plastics and beverage can industry,” he added, referring to assessments the industry had carried out into its PET one-way bottles and cans.
Hennon accepted that because current carbon labelling was based on standards which had a “built-in flexibility” – in the best case scenario – and that they had consequently “often been used by practitioners to steer the results of the analysis in the direction desired”.
But he said that the EU’s review of methodologies was intended to “minimise such flexibility, providing a clearer and more structured framework to carry out the studies, leading to much more comparable results and also reducing uncertainties and imprecisions.”
One recent report by one European consumer watchdog found that the level of complexity in carbon labelling methodology would befuddle even the experts tasked with devising it.
That paper, by the group ANEC, called for the EU’s more straightforward colour or letter-coded energy labelling system to be developed further.
Hennon said the new methodology would be moving in exactly this direction, despite green criticisms that this as an impossible task.
“There is a balance to be struck,” he said, “as too much or too confusing information does not help but may, on the contrary, reduce the willingness of consumers to make better informed choices.”
Among other things, it found that:
Too many environmental indicators confuse consumers and so no more than three indicators should be communicated.
The information should come from a trusted, and ideally third-party source, and not the manufacturer.
General terms for indicators and simpler rating systems and units of measurement are better than technical descriptions.
Information should be provided at the point of purchase for maximum impact on behaviour.
Lettered assessments are easier for consumers to understand, although coloured ones are difficult for manufacturers to integrate into their packaging designs.
“The Carbon Trust supports the principle of comparability across products because this enables consumers to make informed choices.” Messem said.
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
News and Events May 09, 2012
The Energy Department on May 8 announced that up to $5 million in funding is available this year to help expand the use of alternative fuel vehicles, including electric vehicles (EVs), in cities and towns across the country. The funding will help cut through red tape for homeowners and businesses, provide training for mechanics and first responders, and support community planning to expand fueling infrastructure. The Energy Department anticipates awarding 10 to 20 projects this year to be completed within two years. The support of alternative fuel vehicles is part of a strategy to increase energy security in the United States, reduce emissions, and help drivers save money.
This initiative will help communities streamline and quicken permitting processes, and coordinate alternative fuel vehicle and EV infrastructure deployment across state, regional, and local governments. Selected projects will also help communities build workforces with the skills to facilitate these vehicles and infrastructure by training first responders and mechanics. In addition, they will provide resources, such as educational materials and tools, to help consumers understand the economic and environmental benefits of alternative fuel vehicles, and to choose the right vehicle for their needs.
The Energy Department seeks proposals that address barriers to the adoption of these vehicles, provide safety training, coordinate initiatives, and drive market development and transformation to make alternative fuel vehicles and fueling infrastructure widely available. Proposed projects should cover each of these areas. This funding opportunity does not provide for the purchase or installation of vehicles or infrastructure. DOE strongly encourages organizations to form teams that include one or more active, designated Clean Cities coalition as well as other partners with relevant experience and expertise. Applications are due by June 18, 2012. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the funding opportunity announcement.
The Energy Department announced on April 25 up to $2.5 million in funding is available this year to demonstrate and deploy fuel cell electric vehicles for transporting passenger baggage at major U.S. airports. Up to three projects selected for funding will demonstrate first-generation, fuel cell-powered baggage-towing tractors under real-world operating conditions, and will collect and analyze data to test their performance and cost-effectiveness. The funding will help industry bring advanced fuel cell technologies into emerging markets. It will also provide airlines and airports with new choices for ground support operations that cut energy costs, air pollution, and petroleum use.
The Energy Department seeks applicants to demonstrate and test the performance and economic viability of advanced fuel cell systems for up to three years. The 50% cost-shared projects will supply both information on fuel cell system operation and data on the economics of these vehicles to the Hydrogen Secure Data Center at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory for analysis and comparison. Data will be collected from actual airport operations so that engineers and economic analysts can assess the technology’s performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness under the real-world conditions of commercial airports. Conclusions will be drawn from the data to evaluate the commercial viability of this fuel cell application, and the data will be shared with fuel cell manufacturers, helping to improve their designs and optimize overall performance and costs. See the DOE Progress Alert and the funding opportunity announcement.
The Energy Department on May 4 announced the regional winners of its National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. The event inspires university teams across the country to create new businesses and commercialize promising energy technologies developed at U.S. universities and DOE’s national laboratories. The regional finalists—Northwestern University, University of Utah, University of Central Florida, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, and Columbia University—will go on to compete in the first national competition in Washington, D.C., June 12 to 13.
The competition aims to promote entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies that will boost U.S. competitiveness, bring cutting-edge clean energy solutions to the market, and strengthen the nation’s economic prosperity. Each team of students identified a promising clean energy technology from a university or national lab and created a business plan around the technology that detailed how they could help bring it to market. For example, MIT teamed with SolidEnergy to leverage its battery technology innovation, which improves the safety and energy density of rechargeable lithium batteries and is intended to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles. The contest includes financing, product design, scaling up production and marketing. Each of the six regional competitions across the country was run by a nonprofit or university that worked with teams over the last three years. Each of the winning regional teams has already received $100,000 in prizes to continue plans to commercialize the products. See the DOE press release.
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on May 7 flipped the switch to start the first large-scale solar energy facility on U.S. public lands delivering power to consumers. Silver State North is a 50-megawatt plant located 40 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, that will use photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate enough power for about 9,000 Nevada homes. The plant was built on 618 acres of public land managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, after the solar facility underwent full environmental analysis and public review. It was developed by First Solar and is owned by Enbridge.
Prior to 2009, there were no solar energy projects permitted on public lands. Since then, the Interior Department has authorized 29 large-scale renewable energy projects on or involving public lands, including 16 solar facilities, 5 wind farms, and 8 geothermal plants. See the Interior Department press release.
The U.S. wind power industry posted one of its busiest quarters ever in the first quarter of 2012, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The United States saw 1,695 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity installed in that period, with 788 new turbines producing power in 17 states. No other first quarter has been as strong for the American wind power industry, AWEA reported. The wind energy industry installed 52% more MW in the first quarter than it did in the same quarter last year.
During the first quarter, California (370 MW), Oregon (308 MW) and Texas (254 MW) led all states for adding the most wind power. Rounding out the top five were Washington (127 MW) and Pennsylvania (121 MW). One notable trend, previously highlighted in AWEA’s 2011 annual market report, is that with ever-improving technology, wind power is accessing wind resources in geographic areas considered to have inadequate wind resource just a few years ago. Topping that category of states formerly considered to have inadequate wind resources is New Hampshire with 388% growth. See the AWEA press release.
Maine Project Takes Historic Step Forward in U.S. Tidal Energy Deployment
A pilot project that will generate electricity from Maine’s ocean tides could be a game-changer for America’s tidal energy industry at-large.
At the direction of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, three of the state’s electricity distributors will purchase electricity generated by Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC)—the company leading the Maine pilot project. Once finalized, the contracts will be in place for 20 years, making them the first long-term tidal energy power purchase agreements in the United States. The implications of these agreements are far-reaching, helping to advance the commercialization of tidal energy technologies. The project, which has brought more than $14 million into Maine’s economy and has created or helped retain more than 100 jobs, is supported by $10 million in funding from the Energy Department.
For the pilot phase of the project, ORPC will deploy cross flow turbine devices in Cobscook Bay, at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. These devices are designed to generate electricity over a range of water currents, capturing energy on both ebb and flood tides without the need for repositioning. To read the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.
Algae: An Important Source for Making Biofuels
Biofuels are the alternative fuels like ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, methane and others obtained from the biomass. Biomasses are the wasted materials obtained from the plants, animals and human beings. With the increasing prices of the crude oil and importance of achieving self-reliance in energy and growing concern for the environment alternative fuels are receiving more government and public attention.
The government of US has set the targets for using of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by the year 2022 as a result most of the gasoline sold here is mixed with ethanol. Similarly, biodiesel mixed with petroleum diesel is found to create lesser pollution without affecting the performance of the engines. Methane gas is also increasingly used for the production of electricity and also driving the vehicles. Ethanol, biodiesel, and methane are all biofuels obtained from biomass like wasted crops, crops containing sugar, vegetable oil etc.
Due to increasing demands of the biofuels, many farmers are now tempted to raise the crops that would yield biofuels instead of the food crops. This leads to misuse of limited resources available in the form energy, fertilizers and pesticides. In some parts of the world large areas of forests have been cut down to grow sugarcane for ethanol and soybeans and palm-oil tress for making biodiesel. US government is making efforts to make sure the farming for biomass materials does not competes with the farming of food crops and that the farming of biomass would require lesser fertilizers and pesticides.
Algae used as Biomass
One of the most important promising sources of biofuels is algae. Algae are single celled (most of them) microorganisms that grow in salt water, fresh water and even in contaminated water. Algae can grow in sea, rivers, ponds, and also on land not suitable for production. Like other plants, algae also absorb energy from the sun in the presence of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the process called photosynthesis. Just like other wasted plants and crops, algae also carry energy and it can be used as an important biomass material. There are more than 65,000 known species of algae having different colors like green, red, brown and blue-green that offer wide range of options for obtaining the biofuels from them.
Algae keep growing extensively in the nature and it generates lots of waste that could even create problems of disposal. Since algae carries energy, it can be used as an important source of alternative or renewable energy since algae is available in abundant quantities that can last forever. Algae can be used as the biomass materials to obtain various biofuels. Various colonies of algae can be considered to be small biological factories containing lots of energy.
Biofuels from Obtained from Algae
Like the wastes from the plants, the algae can also be used as the biomass to produce various types of biofuels. One of the most popular types of biofuels, biodiesel, is obtained from the vegetable oil. The same biodiesel can also be obtained from algae oil. The biodiesel from algae can be mixed with the petroleum diesel and used for the running of the vehicles. It can also be used as the fuel for jets, airplanes, refineries, and pipelines. The biodiesel obtained from algae can be readily used with automobile and jet engines without the need to make any modifications in the engine. It meets all the specifications of the petroleum diesel fuel.
The algae biomass can also be used for making ethanol and butanol biofuels, which are type of alcohols. Butanol is considered to have more efficiency than ethanol and it is obtained from dried algae that act as a biomass. The carbohydrates extracted from algae are converted into natural sugars, which are then converted into butyric, lactic and acetic acids by the process of fermentation. Further fermentation of butyric acid is carried out to produce butanol.
The biomass obtained from algae can also be used to produce biogas that contains methane and carbon dioxide. Methane is an important component of natural gas, so this biogas can be used just like the natural gas for producing heating effect and also to produce electricity.
Advantages of using Algae as Biomass
One of the important advantages of algae it that it can be grown in almost any type of water: salt, fresh, and even contaminated water. It can be grown in vast sea and river water, small rain water ponds and even commercial or domestic manmade ponds. It can also be grown on non-arable unproductive lands increasing the utility of waste lands.
Another important advantage of growing algae for producing biofuels is that it does not displace the farmland used for growing the food crops. The farmers using various resources for producing biodiesel instead of the food crops has been one of the major concerns for the government, algae helps solving this tricky problem.
Algae have the potential to yield 30 times more energy than the crops grown on land, which are currently being used to produce the biofuels. This would further encourage the use of algae for producing biofuels and land for producing food crops.
Another important advantage of algae is that it uses carbon dioxide for its growth. Thus the pollution causing carbon dioxide produced from the other sources can be utilized to grow algae, which helps keeping the environment cleaner.
Welcome to CCRES ALGAE PROJECT
“CCRES is a member-based non-profit organization with membership open to research institutions, public and private sector organizations, students, and individuals.”
says Zeljko Serdar, President & CEO of CCRES
Who are we?
CCRES is a biotech NGO founded in 1988 and incorporated in the Republic of Croatia. Our Main research center is located in Zagreb, Croatia. CCRES Algae is producing various types of enhanced algae, harboring high value products for the global aquaculture markets.
What do we do?
CCRES Algae’s Project have been designed to alleviate some of the bottlenecks of the aquaculture industry. Our current products include a range of algal products for the different growth stages of many aquaculture species. Our pipeline products include a range of algal based, orally-delivered high value traits for ornamental and edible markets of fish and crustaceans. CCRES Algae’s Project have been scientifically designed as an oral application, replacing the need for costly techniques, specifically injections.
While biodiesel is the fuel end product that is pursued most, algae can be processed to yield other energy products such as ethanol, diesel, gasoline, aviation fuel, hydrogen and other hydrocarbons. We have started exploring production of these products as well.
The various uses of algae will be examined such as its role in the nutraceutical, food, cosmetic and animal feed industries and as a replacement for petroleum as a transportation fuel.
CCRES Algae‘s technology has been efficient and safe.
CCRES Algae’s potential is not restricted to the vast aquaculture market. Developing products for the entire animal husbandry industry (poultry, cattle, swine, etc.,) is just around the corner.
The Algae Production CCRES Courses will begin with an overview of photosynthesis and the carbon cycle, the taxonomy of algae and the basics of cell biology. Safety in the lab and the process of experimental methodology are also included in the curriculum. CCRES students will learn about algae growth factors such as temperature, light, CO2 and nutrients. The different kinds of photobioreactor designs will be explored, including closed vs. open systems. CCRES students will learn about the importance of cultivation protocols, and when to feed, harvest and how to process the algae. Analytics will be covered as well which includes the use of the microscope and learning about the basic algae handling and testing procedures such as dilution, cell counting and dry weight measurment.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)