Tag Archives: CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

News and Events by CCRES September 06, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 06, 2012

Energy Department Backs Collaborative Solar Energy Projects

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

Administration Finalizes Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards

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

Executive Order Promotes Industrial Energy Efficiency

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

Federal Electronics Stewardship Efforts Honored

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

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Shedding Light on the Solar Decathlon 2013 Teams

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

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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Free radicals

Free radicals

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

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

From Bacteria to Biofuel,

Invest in Milking Microbes

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

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

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

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

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

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

By. Oilprice.com Analysts

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News and Events by CCRES August 30, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events August 30, 2012

Universities to Lead Energy Department-Funded CSP Projects

The Energy Department announced on August 28 new investments totaling $10 million for two university-led projects to advance innovative concentrating solar power (CSP) system technologies. The five-year projects are under the Department’s SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat that can be used to produce electricity. Heat transfer fluids are a key component of CSP systems that transfer heat from a receiver to the point where the heat is needed to drive a turbine. The investments will improve heat transfer fluids to increase efficiency and lower costs for CSP systems.
Two university teams were selected to develop new heat transfer fluids. The University of California–Los Angeles will lead a team with researchers from Yale University and the University of California–Berkeley to investigate liquid metals as potential heat transfer fluids with the ability to withstand higher temperatures. And the University of Arizona, the second awardee, is teaming with researchers from Arizona State University and Georgia Tech to develop and demonstrate new, molten salt-based fluids as possible alternatives to traditional heat transfer fluids.
The projects will focus on making dramatic improvements to fluids that gather thermal energy from the sun and transport it to the power block, where the energy is used to drive a turbine that generates electricity. Today’s state-of the-art heat transfer fluids are capable of operating at temperatures up to about 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit are needed to reach efficiencies greater than 50%, which allow CSP plants to capture more energy from solar power. The selected projects are working to develop heat transfer fluids that can operate at temperatures up to 2,350 degrees Fahrenheit, while simultaneously maintaining high levels of performance. See the Energy Department press release.

Energy Department Announces University Appliance-Design Winners

The Energy Department on August 23 announced that a University of Maryland team has won the Department’s first Max Tech and Beyond Appliance Design Competition. The student challenge, which involved nine teams, aims to inspire students to pursue energy efficiency improvements in home and commercial appliances, helping to develop innovative ultra-efficient products.
The University of Maryland team chose to simplify the design of a standard wall-mounted air conditioner by separating the systems that remove humidity and provide cooling. After the students tested a fully functional prototype, they found that the design reduced energy use by 30% compared with typical wall-mounted air conditioners already on the market. Because the current largest consumer of electricity in most homes nationwide is the air conditioning system, this innovative design has the potential to substantially decrease residential energy use and save consumers money.
The runner-up team from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, developed a prototype of a natural gas-fired combination water heater and clothes dryer that can use the waste heat from the clothes dryer to heat water for the next washing load. The team demonstrated that with this approach, they could get a 10% dryer efficiency improvement compared to the best comparable products on the market.
The nine faculty-led student design teams were competitively selected and funded with up to $20,000 by the Energy Department to design, build, and test their prototypes during the 2011-2012 academic year. A panel of Energy Department experts along with those from the Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory judged each team’s prototype based on its demonstrated ability to reduce energy use by 10% or more compared to best on-market products, or based on the prototype’s ability to reduce production costs compared with typical high efficiency products already on the market by 20% or more. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the Max Tech website.

EPA Awards $9 Million to 13 Universities for Climate Change Impacts Research

The EPA announced on August 22 that it awarded $9 million in grants to fund 13 universities for technologies that can help predict and prepare for the impacts of extreme weather triggered by climate change may have on air and water quality.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was awarded $749,931 to examine the ability of models to represent the presence of extreme air pollution and the weather conditions. The project at MIT, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will use advanced statistical techniques to identify the drivers and occurrence of historical and future extreme air quality events in the United States from observations and models. The project combines the work of statisticians and atmospheric scientists. The other 13 grants were awarded to researchers at Columbia University, Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, University of South Florida (two grants), Public Policy Institute of California, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Washington. See the EPA press release and the list of projects.

New York Offers $107 Million for Large Solar Power Projects

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on August 9 announced that $107 million is available for a major solar power incentive program that will increase the amount of electricity generated by photovoltaic (PV) systems throughout New York. The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, seeks proposals for PV systems greater than 50 kilowatts to be installed at larger commercial and industrial customer sites.
The newly established NY-Sun Competitive PV Program will make $36.4 million available in 2012 and $70.5 million in 2013. This phase of the program is available through the end of 2013 for PV projects in New York City and upstate New York at eligible customer sites. This is an expansion of a two-year-old program that previously focused on large PV systems for the commercial, industrial, and municipal sectors exclusively in New York City, Westchester County, and the lower Hudson Valley. All projects will require co-funding to best leverage state resources with funding capped at $3 million per project. See the New York press release and the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program initiative website.
The governor also signed a series of bills on August 17 as part of the NY-Sun initiative that will make solar energy more affordable for homeowners and businesses. The new laws include statewide tax credits for the lease of solar equipment and power purchase agreements, statewide sales tax exemptions for commercial solar equipment, and an extension of the real property tax abatement in New York City for solar installations. See the New York press release.

National Solar Tour Kicks Off in September

Photo of a house with solar panels and visitors enetering.

Local tours of solar houses are being offered throughout the United States starting in mid-September, with most on or around October 6.
Credit: MSB Energy Associates
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour officially takes place on October 6, but several events kick off as early as mid-September, and some offer weeklong action. Now in its seventeenth year, the annual showcase allows participants the opportunity to see innovative green homes and buildings that use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies. ASES estimates that more than 165,000 participants will visit some 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities across the United States.
Kicking off the nationwide series of tours, the Michiana Solar Tour is scheduled to take place on September 15 at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. The following day, the BRING Home & Garden Tour bus will take ticketholders to a variety of sustainable sites in Eugene, Oregon. Most tours will take place on or around October 6, but there are events scheduled through October 27. See the ASES National Solar Tour website and the list of tours.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

Energy Efficiency Upgrades Part of a Winning Formula for Oregon School District

A while ago, we wrote about the quiet, rural community of Vernonia, Oregon, which had been through its share of hard economic times. After two “500-year floods” in an 11-year period devastated the area, damaging its schools and the community core, the town finally started to rebuild its school last April. More than a year later, residents of Vernonia had reason to celebrate when Former Governor Ted Kulongoski joined United States Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and several other federal- and state-elected officials last week for the ribbon cutting of a new energy efficient K-12 school and community center.
The “barn raising” mentality of the Vernonia community helped make the new school and community center a success. The energy efficiency upgrades were made possible using a combination of state, federal, private sector, and non-profit funds—paired with a $13.6 million municipal bond measure passed by the town’s voters.
A $1 million grant from the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program helped the school district incorporate energy efficiency measures, including an energy efficient integrated heating and cooling system. This feature, along with upgrades to the building envelope and lighting, are estimated to reduce the school district’s annual energy usage by 43%—saving taxpayers more than $62,000 per year for the 135,000 square-foot school. The energy efficient upgrades provide not only a healthier learning environment for students and faculty but bolster the school district’s application for LEED Platinum designation. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

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.
 

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CCRES Algae Project Q&A

 

 CCRES ALGAE
CCRES Algae Project
Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How much fuel can algae produce?

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

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

Q: Where could this type of algae grow?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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News and Events by CCRES July 06, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events July 06, 2012

Energy Department Announces $102 Million for Small Business Research

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

 

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

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

 

Obama Administration Announces Investments in Biofuels

Photo of a series of buildings.

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

 

Administration Makes Major Advances in Energy Efficiency Access

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

 

Interior Reports Two Major Wind Energy Initiatives Finish Review

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

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

A Material Change: Bringing Lithium Production Back to America

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

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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$62M to Biofuels Industry

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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Renewable Energy Croatia 2012

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

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

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

The Variability of Renewable Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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News and Events by CCRES June 28, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events June 28, 2012

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

Photo of two men testing equipment in a laboratory.

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

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

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

Energy Department, Park Service Announce Clean Cities Partnership

Photo of three park vehicles with signage.

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

DOI OKs First Commercial Solar Project on Indian Trust Lands

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

FERC Approves Final Rule to Integrate Variable Energy Resources

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

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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

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

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

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