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Category Archives: Energy

Recycler Proposes Turning Ag Plastics Into Oil

Read the full story at OBP.

The agricultural plastics recycler Agri-Plas has proposed a plant that would turn its products into crude oil. The move isn’t all that surprising, considering this Ecotrope post by Oregon Field Guide producer Ed Jahn.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Biofuels

 

UTSA and Microsoft establish sustainable energy research and development pact

Read the full story from the University of Texas San Antonio.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Microsoft Corp. (Microsoft) announced today a three-year agreement to research and develop sustainable technologies to make data centers more energy efficient and economically viable.

In addition to the research agreement, Microsoft made a $1 million gift to UTSA to support the university’s research and technology programs.

 

April: Energy

Read the full post from Yale Sustainability. Although the target audience is students at Yale University, there are suggestions here that are more universally applicable.

 

Department of Energy Issues Draft Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation to Foster Clean Energy Innovation

In support of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Department of Energy issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation today for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. When finalized, the solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing. This draft solicitation represents another step in the Department’s commitment to help overcome the financial barriers to the deployment of innovative, clean energy technologies.

“Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”

The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market ready. Within the draft solicitation, the Department has included a sample list illustrative of potential technologies for consideration. While any project that meets the eligibility requirements is eligible to apply, the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities; and efficiency improvements.

The Department welcomes public comment on a range of issues and will consider public feedback in defining the scope of the final solicitation. In addition to initiating a 30-day public comment period, a schedule of public meetings will be posted on the Department’s website. The draft solicitation can be found online at http://lpo.energy.gov.

Once the solicitation is finalized, the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) will be accepting applications in three areas, which also include the $8 billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Solicitation that was released in December 2013 and the $16 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

Currently, the LPO supports a diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments, supporting more than 30 projects nationwide. The projects that LPO has supported include one of the world’s largest wind farms; several of the world’s largest solar generation and thermal energy storage systems; and more than a dozen new or retooled auto manufacturing plants across the country.

 

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

Read the full story from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Solar

 

In a Host of Small Sources, Scientists See Energy Windfall

Read the full story at Yale Environment 360.

The emerging field of “energy scavenging” is drawing on a wide array of untapped energy sources­ — including radio waves, vibrations created by moving objects, and waste heat from computers or car exhaust systems — to generate electricity and boost efficiency.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Energy

 

EPA scores big win to limit mercury in power plants

Read the full story at Politico.

The Environmental Protection Agency took home a sweeping victory Tuesday when an appeals court upheld the agency’s pollution limits for mercury and air toxics from power plants.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s rule, known as MATS, denying challenges from states, utilities and industry groups that argued the rules came out of a flawed regulatory process and illegally imposed exorbitant costs on power producers that will force dozens of power plants to shut down.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Energy, Mercury, Regulation

 

Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight With Fuel From the Sea Concept

Read the full story from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Navy researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Materials Science and Technology Division, demonstrate proof-of-concept of novel NRL technologies developed for the recovery of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) from seawater and conversion to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

Fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon—a component of NRL’s novel gas-to-liquid (GTL) process that uses CO2 and H2 as feedstock—the research team demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled (RC) P-51 replica of the legendary Red Tail Squadron, powered by an off-the-shelf (OTS) and unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

NRL researchers (l to r) Dr. Jeffrey Baldwin, Dr. Dennis Hardy, Dr. Heather Willauer, and Dr. David Drab (crouched), successfully demonstrate a novel liquid hydrocarbon fuel to power the aircraft's unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

Flying a radio-controlled replica of the historic WWII P-51 Mustang red-tail aircraft—of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen—NRL researchers (l to r) Dr. Jeffrey Baldwin, Dr. Dennis Hardy, Dr. Heather Willauer, and Dr. David Drab (crouched), successfully demonstrate a novel liquid hydrocarbon fuel to power the aircraft’s unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine. The test provides proof-of-concept for an NRL developed process to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater, subsequently catalytically converting the CO2 and H2 into fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.
(Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Department of Defense, Energy, Water

 

RMI: How applying Deep Retrofit Value makes for Better Buildings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Buildings consume more energy than any other sector — 42 percent of the nation’s primary energy and 72 percent of its electricity. And at current trend and performance levels, fossil fuel use in commercial buildings will increase, not decrease, by 2050, when 65 percent of today’s commercial square footage is predicted to be still standing.

This is why in 2011 President Obama announced the Better Buildings Initiative and launched the Better Buildings Challenge to push CEOs, university presidents, state and local government leaders, building owners and others to commit their organizations to reduce their annual energy use by 20 percent over 10 years while showcasing the best energy-saving strategies and their results.

Better Buildings has scored major wins in its first two years: More than 170 organizations are in the Better Buildings Challenge, committing more than 3 billion square feet of building floor space. With clear success garnering broad support for energy savings in the near term, the Better Buildings Initiative has driven the commercial and industrial sectors onto the path of mitigating climate change and reducing fossil fuel dependence.

But to reach the finish line, commercial buildings must become closer to being 40 percent more energy efficient by 2050. Achieving these deeper levels of savings more broadly will require a scaling up of investment in energy efficiency. RMI’s new practice guide on how to calculate and present value from deep energy retrofits can help drive that investment.

 

A few “problem wells” source of greenhouse gas

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

High levels of the greenhouse gas methane were found above shale gas wells at a production point not thought to be an important emissions source, according to a study jointly led by Purdue and Cornell universities. The findings could have implications for the evaluation of the environmental impacts from natural gas production.

The study, which is one of only a few to use a so-called “top-down” approach that measures methane gas levels in the air above wells, identified seven individual well pads with high emission levels and established their stage in the shale-gas development process.

 
 
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