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USAID, MNRE Announce New Clean Energy Partnership (Ind. Report)
US Agency for International Development
Date: 2020-07-27
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) have announced a collaborative partnership between the SAID-supported South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE) and MNRE's national technical institutions.

The SAGE partnership will provide a formal platform for collaboration on clean energy development and provide advanced technical knowledge on clean energy development from the US DOE National Laboratories to MNRE's National Institute of Wind Energy, National Institute of Biomass Energy, and others.

The SAGE consortium includes USAID, the US Department of Energy and three of the Department of Energy's National Laboratories -- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (Source: USAID, EconimicTimes India, July, 2020) Contact: USAID, www.usaid.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News US Agency for International Development ,  Clean Energy,  Renewable Energy,  Bioenergy,  


NREL Considering Blockchain and Renewable Energy (Ind. Report)
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Date: 2020-06-01
The US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reports it is exploring the possibilities of using blockchain for renewable energy. To that end, NREL will work with energy utility, Exelon, and the Energy Web Foundation (EWF) to research blockchain for community-based energy markets.

The project will focus on enhancing coordination between utilities and consumers and finding ways to connect distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar panels to local distribution networks by using digital identity and hardware created by NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

NREL plans to leverage blockchain to create a scalable solution for electricity feeders, which can be customized as desired. Currently, they are running a virtual pilot that connects electric vehicles, smart appliances, batteries, and other components, to a blockchain.

NREL is a member of Blockchain for Optimized Security and Energy Management (BLOSEM), and provides expertise on accelerating blockchain adoption in the energy sector. The BLOSEM project is led by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and is funded by the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium. (Source: NREL, COINGEEK, 30 May, 2020) Contact: NREL, Dane Christensen, dane.christensen@nrel.gov, www.nrel.gov; Excelon, www.exeloncorp.com; Web Foundation, www.energyweb.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Renewable Energy Laboratory ,  NREL,  Renewable Energy,  Exelon,  ,  


BrainBox AI Raises $12Mn for Autonomous Building Tech (Ind Report)
BrainBox
Date: 2020-04-29
Montreal-based autonomous building technology specialist BrainBox AI reports raising $12 million to further deploy its ground-breaking AI technology for buildings across North America and abroad.

BrainBox AI technology combines deep learning, cloud-based computing and autonomous decision making to support a 24/7 self-operating building. BrainBox AI's solution enables a building's HVAC system to operate autonomously, in real-time, to generate up to a 25 pct reduction in total energy costs and a 20-40 pct reduction in carbon footprint.

In the 11 months since its launch to market in May 2019, BrainBox AI has installed its self-learning technology in over 15 million square feet of commercial properties, across 15 cities on 3 continents. The company has gained significant traction in its home market of Canada, and the recent raise will enable rapid expansion in both existing and new markets.

BrainBox AI works in collaboration with research partners including the US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), Montral's McGill University and others. (Source: BrainBox AI, PR , 28 April, 2020) Contact: BrainBox AI, Sean Neely, CEO and Co-Founder , 888 585 2630, www.brainboxai.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Energy Monitoring,  


NREL Claims 47.1 pct Solar Cell Efficiency Record (Ind. Report)
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Date: 2020-04-20
Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are touting an innovative "six-junction" solar cell using 140 layers of semiconductor materials to achieve a conversion rate of 47.1 pct -- breaking the previous record set by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and Soitec of 46 pct set back in 2014.

The NREL scientists produced a six-junction solar cell, combining sandwiching multiple layers of materials that were fine-tuned to convert different portions of the light spectrum into electricity. While the layered solar cell design will almost certainly be cost prohibitive to produce at commercial scale compared to conventional silicon cells, it may find use in more niche applications, the NREL team said. Generally, the super high-efficiency solar cells are limited for use in spacecraft and satellites, where performance, space and weight are a premium. However, the researchers highlight that cells with such high conversion efficiencies would be ideally used in concentrated solar plants.

The researchers trialled their nearly 50 pct efficient solar cells with concentrated sunlight, producing the equivalent of 143 suns of solar intensity. Using unconcentrated light, the six-junction solar cells were able to achieve a conversion efficiency of 39.2 pct, which was also a new world record. (Source: NREL,PR, 14 April, 2020) Contact: NREL, John Geisz, Research Scientist, 303-384-6474, John.Geisz@nrel.gov, www.enrel.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Renewable Energy Laboratory,  NREL,  Solar,  Solar Scell Efficiency,  


ExxonMobil -- Climate Change, the Work Ahead Opinions & Asides)
ExxonMobil
Date: 2020-01-13
"As we wrap up 2019, it's useful to take stock of the past year and keep looking ahead to the future and what we need to do to accomplish our energy goals. We need to do a lot. We are at a crucial inflection point with climate change, as is all too clear from the regular stream of updates in our news feeds every day. ExxonMobil’s annual Energy Outlook, which came out recently, discusses how the world is still offtrack to meet certain climate goals without a lot of additional effort.

"That further work means continued technology innovation. We have to keep finding and inventing solutions to the myriad of individual problems posed by the dual challenge. These different efforts -- both within and outside of our own research labs -- are all essential to moving us forward. They include the important renewables work being done with wind, solar and geothermal by so many around the world; they also include research focused on carbon capture technology and biofuels -- and everything in between. On ExxonMobil’s end, we are proud of our portfolio of innovative emission-lowering projects that have led to more than 10,000 patents in the last decade. Since 2000, we've spent $16.5 billion on this kind of R&D.

"Moving into 2020, we need to stay focused on several key themes related to solving the dual challenge: scale, speed, collaboration and training the next generation of scientists, engineers and other problem solvers. Scale is everything in our efforts. Reducing carbon emissions to fight climate change as we simultaneously deliver more and more energy to a growing world is a big job. And it's not just one job. As I said earlier this year, 'Not only are the sizes we are talking about so big they are sometimes unfathomable, but we must deploy solutions globally AND across countless end uses. It's not one equation with one unknown, but multiple equations with multiple unknowns.'

"As we work to solve for these multiple unknowns, we are pursuing projects big and small. What they share in common is the strict requirement that they must lead to a scalable solution. Energy is gigantic, from the infrastructure that supports it to the markets that drive its supply and demand. Any solution we find in the lab, however brilliant, must be ready to immediately scale.

"And it needs to happen quickly. As we know, scientific discovery is an ongoing endeavor -- you can't put a deadline on invention. But we can accelerate innovation. First, we can follow the example of parallel processing from computer science. In our labs, we don't wait for the basic science to be definitively 'concluded' (if it even can be). We start the engineering while we're still doing the science and iterate between the two. That requires collaboration between different types of researchers and innovators – between our corporate lab and government and academic labs, for example -- and that's the other way we speed up scalable solutions: with partnerships. Partnerships are a force multiplier. They are absolutely key when it comes to solving the dual challenge. When I look back on the past year, I am proud of the scope and variety of partnerships we undertook as a company. To name just a few:

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (and other DOE-funded labs) -- in a 10-year, $100 million collaboration to bring advanced energy technologies to market at scale, focused on reducing carbon emissions.

  • IBM -- to collaborate on quantum computing that could help make energy exploration and extraction enormously efficient.

  • MIT Energy Initiative -- to extend our existing relationship supporting this project, which is committed to discovering new emission-reducing technology.

    Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) locations in Madras and Bombay -- to continue our research with scientists and students working on the ground in India to address the energy needs and challenges on the subcontinent, including studying life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in India's power sector.

  • Clariant and Genomatica -- to convert residue left over from farming into biofuel that can power trucks, ships and more. Clariant has expert processes to extract sugars from agricultural leftovers like wheat straw, while Genomatica turns sugars into biofuels.

  • Global Thermostat -- to evaluate the scalability of their innovative carbon capture technology, which removes CO2 from the atmosphere and industrial sources.

  • Microsoft -- to digitally transform 1 million acres of unconventional oil and gas fields in the Permian Basin, making it the largest-ever oil and gas acreage to use cloud technology, and also making it more efficient. Energy efficiency is an often overlooked area when we think about the dual challenge.

    (Source: ExxonMobil, PR, , 31 Dec., 2019) Contact: ExxonMobil, Dr. Vijay Swarup, VP Research and Development , www.linkedin.com › dr-vijay-swarup-120a95159, (972) 444-1107, www.exxonmobil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  ExxonMobil,  Vijay Swarup ,  


  • SETO Awards Eaton $3Mn for Solar, Storage R&D (Ind. Report, R&D)
    DOE SETO
    Date: 2019-12-20
    Cleveland-headquartered power management specialist Eaton Corp is reporting receipt of $3 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to pursue research and development initiatives that enable more widespread adoption of solar power and energy storage.

    Eaton's research will focus on developing a real-time controller for behind-the-meter distributed energy resources and loads, such as solar generation and battery storage. The project will integrate data from smart meters to enable enhanced grid services that improve reliability in distribution systems with high solar penetration.

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Electric Power Research Institute, Pecan Street, Provo City Power and Commonwealth Edison will participate in Eaton's research. m will work with existing utility infrastructure.

    SETO supports early-stage R&D to improve the affordability, reliability, and performance of solar technologies on the grid. (Source: Eaton, PR, BusinessWire, 19 Dec., 2019) Contact: Eaton, Cara Klaer, Media, (248) 226-1755, CaraLKlaer@eaton.com, www.eaton.com; DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Eaton Corp,  SETO,  U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies ,  


    NREL Researching Potential Diesel Fuel Bio-Blendstock (R&D Report)
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory
    Date: 2019-12-18
    Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are reporting discovery of a novel oxygenate molecule that can be produced from biomass to be used as a blend for diesel fuel. The initiative focuses on improving fuel economy and vehicle performance while reducing emissions.

    The team used corn stover-derived molecules as the starting point for a range of potential fuel candidates. From here, the researchers relied on predictive models to determine which molecules would be best to blend with and improve traditional diesel. With the goal of developing drop-in biofuels that work with existing infrastructure. The intention is to blend the 4-butoxyheptane molecule into diesel fuel at a mixture of 20 - 30 pct Initial results suggest the potential to improve ignition quality, reduce sooting and improve fuel economy of the base diesel at these blend levels.

    NREL is working with Yale University, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of the US DOE Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative which is funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Bioenergy Technologies.

    Performance-Advantaged Ether Diesel Bioblendstock Production by a Priori Design, the initiative's research paper was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Source: NREL,PR, Dec., 2019) Contact: NREL, Derek Vardon, Senior Research Engineer, (303) 384-7763, Derek.Vardon@nrel.gov, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Renewable Energy Laboratory,  


    HPE, NREL Collaborate on Energy Efficiency (Ind. Report)
    Hewlett Packard ,NREL
    Date: 2019-11-20
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) reports they will collaborate with the US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on the development of water and energy efficiency software for data centers.

    HPE expects the three-year collaboration to train machine learning models to detect anomalies so that energy efficiency issues can be predicted and prevented. (Source: HPE, Storage Review, 18 Nov., 2019) Contact: HPE, www.hpe.com; NREL, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Hewlett Packard,  Energy Efficiency,  NREL ,  


    RCAM Technologies Concrete Wind Foundation Project (Ind. Report)
    RCAM Technologies
    Date: 2019-11-20
    US start-up RCAM Technologies reports it has been selected by and received funding from the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium for contract negotiations as part of the consortium's second round of wind research and development projects. RCAM's award, which is one of two totaling $1.9 million, will go towards "proving the feasibility and advance the design" of the company's modular "3D Printing" concrete foundation.

    The two-year project scope includes the conceptual design, preliminary design, and feasibility assessment of the fixed-bottom, suction-bucket support structure and heavy-lift-vessel alternative for the US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 15MW reference turbine.

    According to its website, RCAM Technologies was "founded to develop concrete additive manufacturing technologies initially for wind energy technologies -- RCAM's vision for wind energy is to develop land-based and offshore wind turbine towers and substructures up to 200-meter tall at half the cost of conventional tall tower technologies." (Source: RCAM Technologies, PR, 19 November, 2019) Contact: RCAM Technologies, Jason Cottrell, CEO, www.rcamtechnologies.com; National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, www.energy.gov/eere/wind/national-offshore-wind-rd-consortium

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Offshore Wind Foundation,  


    Coalition Calls for 10 GW of Calif. Offshore Wind Power (Ind Report)
    Equinor,Aker Solutions,NREL
    Date: 2019-10-07
    A new Offshore Wind California coalition of renewable energy companies is calling for the Golden State to commit to a goal of at least 10 GW of primarily floating offshore wind power in California waters by 2040.

    The group that counts Equinor and offshore engineering company Aker Solutions among its members notes that U.S. East Coast states have about 22 GW worth of offshore wind commitments and are projected to see an estimated $70 billion in related supply chain spending by 2030.

    The US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates California's potential for offshore wind at about 112 GW, including about 8.4 GW in three Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) designated study areas. NREL also notes that floating wind platforms are a basic requirement for most of the state's offshore waters, which are too deep to support monopile or multi-leg jackets. (Source: NREL, Maritime Executive, Oct., 2019) Contact: NREL, www.nrel.gov; Aker Solutions, Fredrik Berge, Inv. Relations, +47 22 94 62 19, fredrik.berge@akersolutions.com, www.akersolutions.com; Equinor, Pal Eitrheim, VP New Energy Solutions, www.equinor.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Offshore Wind,  Floating Offshore Wind,  BOEM,  NREL,  Equinor,  Aker Solutions,  Offshore Wind,  


    Consortium Funds Offshore Wind Anchorage Study (R&D, Funding)
    National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium
    Date: 2019-09-13
    The new federally-funded U.S. National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium reports awarding its first contract to the U.S. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The $300,000 award will support NREL's work on the economic feasibility of shared mooring lines to cut deep-water floating wind farm costs by connecting adjacent turbine platforms and distributing load, resulting in fewer anchors and considerable savings.

    The DOE-created consortium is funded with $20 million to conduct research and development to address technological barriers and lower the costs and risks of offshore wind in the United States. To that end, DOE and Department of the Interior (DOI) identified the following research areas to facilitate the development of the U.S. offshore wind industry: wind plant technology advancement; wind resource and physical site characterization, and; installation, operations and maintenance, and supply chain technology solutions.

    The Consortium is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA). (Source: National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, ENR, 11 Sept., 2019)Contact: National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, www.energy.gov › eere › national-offshore-wind-rd-consortium; NYSERDA, Alicia Barton, Pres., CEO, (518) 862-1090, www.nyserda.ny.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  Wind R&D,  NYSERDA,  


    Stanford, DEWA Collaborate on Solar Energy R&D (R&D, Int'l)
    DEWA,Stanford University
    Date: 2019-08-07
    In the UAE, the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) reports it's Research and Development Center will collaborate with California's Stanford University on radiation cooling to improve the efficiency and performance of solar panels. The research will include the utilization of autonomous robots in monitoring and maintaining solar power plants, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast the performance and production of photovoltaic solar plants in the short term.

    The DEWA R&D Centre, situated at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, also has renewable and alternative energy co-operation agreements with the U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Spanish National Renewable Energy Centre, as well as the United Arab Emirates University and Khalifa University.

    The UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031 aims to position the UAE as a global leader in AI by 2031; the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to diversify the country's energy mix and provide 75 pct of Dubai's total power output from clean sources by 2050. (Source: DEWA, MEP Middle East, Stanford, DEWA, Aug., 2019) Contact: DEWA, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO, www.dewa.gov.ae; Stanford, www.stanford.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DEWA,  Solar,  Stanford,  PV,  


    DOE Awards $2Mn for Performance Computing Energy Efficiency (Funding)
    DOE EERE
    Date: 2019-07-29
    In Washington, the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) reports it has awarded $2 million in funding for seven new high performance computing projects, as part of the High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Initiative.

    The initiative is a DOE-wide effort comprising EERE, the Office of Fossil Energy (FE), the Office of Science, and the National Laboratories. The initiative helps to leverage the National Laboratories' high performance computing capabilities to address challenges in manufacturing and materials through state-of-the-art modeling, simulation, and data analysis. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) leads the HPC4EI program along with partner laboratories Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Sandia National Laboratories, as well as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and National Energy Technology Laboratory. Funded projects include:

  • NYC-based Ferric, Inc. will partner with LLNL to develop analytical tools that will combine traditional electromagnetic finite-element analysis with micromagnetic simulation.

  • Applied Materials in Sunnyvale, Calif. will continue to work with LLNL on Phase II of developing predictive modeling capabilities for the advanced film deposition technique, High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering.

  • Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, Ill., Gopher Resource, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will partner to use high performance computing to increase the productivity of secondary lead furnaces.

  • Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical will collaborate with Argonne National Laboratory on developing open-source software-based models of a gas atomizer based on ongoing work being performed at Eastman.

  • Praxair Surface Technologies Inc. in Indianapolis will work with Ames National Laboratory to enhance the efficiency of metal powder production for additive manufacturing applications.

    Within the High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program, EERE's Vehicle Technologies Office has selected two projects:

  • PPG Industries will collaborate with LLNL and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to apply classical molecular dynamics simulations and density functional tight-binding calculations.

  • AK Steel in Middletown, Ohio will collaborate with ORNL on thermo-mechanical forming process development to produce tailored strength automotive structural components. The Office of Fossil Energy selected two additional HPC4Mtls projects to support. Industry partners provide at least 20 pct of the funding for new projects. (Source:DOE EERE, PR, EIN,July, 2019) Contact: US DOE, www.energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE EERE,  Energy Efficiency,  


  • NREL Wind-Wildlife Mitigation Efforts Funded (Ind. Report)
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory
    Date: 2019-07-12
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reports it is one of nine organizations to receive US DOE funding to explore and develop technologies to reduce the environmental impacts of wind energy.

    NREL will investigate and improve the effectiveness of ultrasonic acoustic deterrents that emit frequencies perceptible to bats to discourage them from approaching wind turbines.

    Other technological innovations include thermal imaging cameras and specially developed radar technologies that detect and deter bats and other wildlife from approaching wind-turbine blades.

    Identifying the best wind-wildlife mitigation technologies will enable more efficient and cost-effective wind energy projects. (Source: NREL,WindPower, 10 July, 2019) Contact: NREL, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Renewable Energy Laboratory,  Wind,  


    ExxonMobil, Global Thermostat Partner on CCS Tech (Ind. Report)
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2019-07-03
    Irving, Texas-headquartered U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil is reporting an agreement with NYC-based Global Thermostat to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that can capture and concentrate CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and industrial sources with the goal of slowing climate change.

    Should the technical readiness and scalability of the technology be determined, pilot projects at ExxonMobil facilities could follow, according to a MobilExxon press release.

    As previously reported, ExxonMobil recently committed to spending as much as $100 million over 10 years with the U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) on research to bring lower-emission tech to commercial scale. (Source: ExxonMobil, PR, 1 July, 2019) Contact: ExxonMobil, Vijay Swarup, VP ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co., William M. Colton, VP Strategic Planning, www.exxonmobil.com; Global Thermostat, Dr. Graciela Chichilnisky, CEO, 646-798-6217, www.globalthermostat.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil,  CCS,  CO2 Emissions,  Carbon Capture,  


    Centrica, NREL Partner on Hybrid Battery Storage (Ind. Report)
    Centrica,NREL
    Date: 2019-06-24
    Centrica Business Solutions -- Centrica's distributed energy and power business -- reports it has joined forces with the US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to study the integration of energy storage technologies.

    Research will be conducted at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) where the focus is on developing and demonstrating innovative energy systems and "second life" battery storage technologies. Second life batteries include batteries previously used in electric vehicles as a single unit for disparate applications. (Source: Centrica, NREL, newKerala, 23 June, 2019) Contact: Centrica Business Solutions, Fabio Mantovani, Director of Technology Strategy and Innovation, www.centrica.com; NREL, Martha Symko-Davies, Laboratory Program Manager, ESIF, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Centrica,  NREL,  Energy Storage,  Battery,  


    ExxonMobil, Nat. Labs to Collaborate on Lower-Emissions R&D (R&D)
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2019-05-10
    Irving, Texas-headquartered oil industry juggernaut ExxonMobil reports it will invest as much as $100 million over 10 years to research and to develop advanced lower-emissions technologies in collaboration with the US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

    The research aims to advance potential scalable technologies that improve energy efficiency, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce emissions from the production of fossil fuels and petrochemicals, according to ExxonMobil. Initial collaborative efforts will explore ways to bring biofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to commercial scale across the power generation, transportation, and manufacturing sectors. (Source: ExxonMobil, GreenCar Congress, 9 May, 2019)Contact: Exxon Mobil, William M. Colton, VP Strategic Planning, www.exxonmobil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  Biouels,  CCS,  


    DOE Funds Wind Energy Environmental Research Projects (Funding)
    US DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office
    Date: 2019-03-15
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office reports the allocation of $6.2 million for nine early-stage research projects expected to reduce environmental compliance costs and environmental impacts of offshore and onshore wind energy. With cost sharing, the projects are expected to total $9.5 million.

    According to DOE, the projects will develop technology solutions to environmental siting and operational challenges to reduce project permitting time and costs, increase the certainty of project development outcomes and provide more deployment options at reduced costs. Three projects by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), American Wind Wildlife Institute of Washington and Stantec Consulting Services of Topsham will receive $2.3 million to further the advancement of smart curtailment strategies to minimize energy loss from curtailment and wind farm environmental impacts to bats. $1.4 million will be awarded to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of Golden, General Electric Renewable Energy of Greenville and the Iowa State University of Ame for projects dedicated to advancing the commercial readiness of bat deterrent technologies to minimize the need for curtailment.

    The remaining $2.5 million will be allocated to SMRU Consulting of Friday Harbor, Oregon State University of Corvallis and Western EcoSystems Technology of Cheyenne to develop and validate pre- and post-construction monitoring and mitigation solutions for the offshore wind environment to ease regulatory barriers to deployment. (Source: US DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office, offshoreWIND .biz, 14 Mar., 2019) Contact: US DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office, Phone: (202) 586-5348, www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE,  Wind,  EPRI,  


    PNNL Seeking Algae Bioenergy, Biofuel Collaborations (Ind Report)
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    Date: 2019-02-20
    The U.S. DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) reports it is seeking algae industry partners and academic researchers to help find the best algae strains for biofuels and bioproducts to reduce the cost of producing bioenergy from algae feedstocks.

    PNNL leads the Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Verification (DISCOVR) project that employs the unique complementary capabilities of the four participating national laboratories -- Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratorie -- sand the outdoor testbed at the Arizona Center for Algal Technology and Innovation to identify and test high productivity microalgae strains for year-round outdoor cultivation. The goal is to provide a framework to accelerate meeting DOE's advanced biofuel goals with microalgae.

    "A key cost driver for algae biofuels is productivity, which is directly tied to which algae strain is chosen and how it's cultivated," said Taraka Dale, a scientist at LANL. "By collaborating with industry and academia, we aim to bring together the best of the best strains and cultivation strategies to rapidly boost productivity and reduce costs."

    "So far, we have tested more than 40 new microalgae strains and identified strains with up to 34 percent greater biomass productivity than benchmark strains," said Huesemann. "The success of the DISCOVR strain down selection and testing pipeline was demonstrated in 2018 by achieving more than 13 pct improvement in outdoor pond productivity relative to 2017, reducing the biomass selling price by about 10 pct."

    The goal of the call for collaboration is to solicit algae strains, tools and techniques from the algae community to further boost algae productivity. This call gives industry and academia an opportunity to partner with the four national laboratories in DISCOVR, as well as AzCATI. (Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PR, Feb., 2019) Contact: PNNL, Michael Huesemann, DISCOVR Consortium leader, discovr.algae@lanl.gov, https://discovr.labworks.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ,  


    NREL High on U.S. Floating Solar Potential (Ind. Report)
    NREL
    Date: 2019-01-07
    According to Floating PV: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental U.S., a recent study from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), floating pv solar (FPV) projects across more than 24,000 man-made US reservoirs could generate approximately 10 pct of the nation's annual electricity production and, at the same time, reduce the land requirements for conventional ground mount PV power plants by at least 2.1 million hectares. (Source: NREL, PV Tech, Jan., 2018) Contact: NREL, Jordan Macknick, Research Team Leader, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NREL,  Solar,  Floating Solar,  


    DOE Selects Pumped Storage Projects for Study (Ind. Report)
    US DOE, Energy STorage
    Date: 2018-12-05
    In Washington, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced selections for its Notice of Opportunity for Technical Assistance (NOTA) to perform techno-economic studies to evaluate the long-term value of two selected pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) projects. While PSH projects were initially built to balance the electricity system between period of high demand during the day and low demand at night, increases in variable renewable generation have changed how plants are operated and the value they provide to the grid. For example, instead of generating during the day and pumping at night, many plants now change operational modes multiple times per day and are relied on to provide quick ramping or frequency response.

    Determining the value of PSH under these changing grid conditions is a significant challenge that requires new modeling tools and analysis. These studies will provide PSH developers with improved capabilities to estimate the value of a proposed PSH project and compare financial revenue streams under current market structures relative to the economic value of PSH projects to the grid.

    The techno-economic studies for the two selected projects will be carried out by a Technical Assistance team comprising subject matter experts from the following DOE national laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

    The studies will support a larger multi-year research strategy to define the capabilities and estimate the value that hydropower and PSH resources contribute to electric grid resilience and reliability and how those contributions could be optimized for a rapidly evolving grid.

    The Technical Assistance team has developed draft guidance -- a step-by-step methodology that can be used by PSH developers, plant owners and operators, and other stakeholders to assess the economic value of existing or planned PSH projects. The methodology will be applied at the two sites below to evaluate and demonstrate the potential economic and financial value of the proposed projects. Through these studies, the team will test and refine the valuation guidance, after which the guidance and valuation tools will be made publicly available for use by the hydropower industry.

    GridAmerica Holdings' proposed Goldendale project would be located on the border of Oregon and Washington at the northern terminus of the Pacific AC and DC intertie transmission lines. This project, if constructed, could facilitate the storage and export of the growing amount of wind energy available in the Northwest to nearby states.

    Absaroka Energy's proposed Banner Mountain project in central Wyoming along the proposed route of the Energy Gateway West 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line, which would enable it to serve additional areas in the western and southwestern U.S.. Banner Mountain would be a closed-loop facility that would include three ternary units -- a PSH technology that enables rapid switching between generating and pumping modes -- for a total capacity of 400 MW.

    The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to strengthen U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality. (Source: US DOE, Dec., 2018) Contact: EERE Water Power Technology Office, www.energy.gov/eere/water/articles/notice-opportunity-technical-assistance-techno-economic-studies-pumped-storage; OEERE, www.energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy STorage,  Pumped Energy STorage,  


    DOE Releases 2017 Wind Market Reports (Ind. Reports Attached)
    US DOE
    Date: 2018-08-27
    The U.S. DOE's recently released three wind energy market reports for 2017 note that as wind installations continue across the country and offshore wind projects move beyond the planning process, technology costs and wind energy prices continue to fall. The reports cover land-based utility scale, distributed, and offshore wind. Highlights from 2017 reports prepared by DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory include:
  • The U.S. wind industry installed 7,017 MW of capacity last year, bringing total utility-scale wind capacity to nearly 89 GW:
  • In total, 41 states operated utility-scale wind projects. Texas leads the nation with over 22 GW of wind capacity, while Oklahoma, Iowa, California, and Kansas have more than 5,000 MW;
  • Another 13 states have more than 1,000 MW;
  • In 2017, wind energy contributed 6.3 pct of the nation's electricity supply, more than 10 pct of total generation in 14 states, and more than 30 pct in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota;
  • Larger turbines with longer blades are enhancing wind plant performance. Wind projects built in the past few years have seen capacity factors increase by 79 pct compared to projects installed from 1998 to 2001;
  • The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,611 per KW, down 33 pct from the peak in 2009 -- 2010:
  • The U.S. wind industry supported more than 105,000 jobs and saw $11 billion invested in new wind plants in 2017.

    A separate 2017 Distributed Wind Market Report, prepared by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, highlights the following:

  • In total, U.S. wind turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative installed capacity of 1,076 MW. This capacity comes from roughly 81,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam;
  • In 2017, Iowa, Ohio, and California led the nation in new distributed wind capacity installed as a result of large-scale turbines installed by commercial and industrial facilities and electricity distribution utilities;
  • 35 pct of distributed wind projects installed in 2017 were residential , and 25 pct were agricultural installations;
  • U.S. manufacturers of small wind turbines and their supply chain vendors are located in 27 states;
  • Between 2015 and 2017, U.S.-based small wind turbine manufacturers accounted for $226 million or more in export sales.

    A third report, the 2017 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Update, prepared by the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, found the following:

  • The U.S. offshore wind industry recently took a leap forward as commercial-scale projects were competitively selected in Massachusetts (800 MW), Rhode Island (400 MW), and Connecticut (200 MW);
  • New York, New Jersey, and Maryland also have offshore wind projects in the development pipeline;
  • The U.S. offshore wind project pipeline has reached a total of 25,464 MW of capacity across 13 states, including the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm commissioned in 2016;
  • In Europe -- where most offshore wind development has occurred to date -- recent offshore wind project auctions have continued the trend of developers committing to lower electricity prices for projects that will be operating in the 2020s;
  • New offshore wind turbines are being developed with 10 -- 12 mw of capacity (compared to an average capacity of 2.3 MW for land-based turbines and 5.3 MW for offshore wind turbines installed in 2017). As a result, demand is increasing for specialized ships that will be able to install these very large turbines in U.S. waters;
  • About 60 pct of the U.S. offshore wind resource lies in deep waters. Developing a project in deep waters requires wind turbines on floating foundations;
  • In the U.S., floating offshore wind projects have been proposed off the coasts of Maine, California, and Hawaii.

    Report details are HERE. (Source: DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office, Aug., 2018) Contact: DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office. www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office,  


  • UA Tech Park to Mentor DOE Solar Tech Competition (Ind. Report)
    University of Arizona Tech Park
    Date: 2018-08-22
    The University of Arizona Tech Park reports it has been selected by the federal government to act as a "mentor organization" to companies taking part in the $3 million American-Made Solar Prize competition.

    The Tech Park will be a "connector" organization for the American-Made Solar Prize which is directed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and funded by the U.S. DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office. As many as 52 companies can win prize money from the competition, with prizes ranging between three levels that are differentiated by how close the product is to market. (Source: University of Arizona, PR, 20 Aug., 2018) Contact: University of Arizona Tech Park, Bruce Wright, VP, https://techparks.arizona.edu; DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  


    MIT, NREL Study Carbon Tax Effectiveness Scenarios (Ind. Report)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
    Date: 2018-04-11
    According to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a carbon tax on the use of fossil fuels coupled with returning the generated tax revenue to the public in one form or another, can be an effective way to curb GHG emissions and, depending on the mechanism chosen, could be fair and not hurt low-income households.

    In reaching their conclusion, the researchers considered carbon taxes at $25 and $50 per ton of carbon emissions produced and two rates of increase -- 1 pct or 5 pct per year -- as well as three different approaches to dispensing the revenue: an equal rebate to every household; a tax break for individuals; or a corporate tax break.

    The study showed that even the lowest taxation rates could lead to reductions sufficient to meet the U.S. near-term commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. However, the most efficient way of achieving those reductions, in terms of overall impact on the economy, is to use the revenue to reduce taxes on corporate profits or investment income. Rebating equal payments across the board was found to be the least efficient and individual tax breaks came in somewhere in between on both criteria. The researchers suggest a combination of tax breaks to corporations and rebates to the low-income families most affected by the tax could virtually eliminate the regressive aspects of the tax at very little cost in overall efficiency as well as be politically acceptable.

    Their analysis indicates that starting with a $50 per ton carbon tax and increasing it by 5 pct per year would lead to a 63 pct reduction in total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PR, AAAS, 5 April, 2018) Contact: MIT, Sloan School of Management, John Reilly, energy.mit.edu/profile/john-reilly

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Tax,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  Carbon Emissions,  


    KULR, NREL Touting Li-ion Battery Technology Deal (Ind. Report)
    KULR Technology
    Date: 2018-03-28
    Campbell, California-based KULR Technology announced today that it has reached agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to be the exclusive manufacturing and distribution partner for the patented Internal Short Circuit (ISC) device which causes predictable battery cell failures in widely-used lithium-ion batteries.

    KULR's core technology is a proprietary, vertically-aligned carbon fiber cooling material that is lighter, more flexible and more efficient than traditional thermal management products. KULR carbon fiber has virtually unlimited commercial and industrial applications for battery safety, reducing heat and increasing the longevity of electronic components and increasing the efficiency of energy storage. (Source: KULR Technology, 27 Mar., 2018) Contact: KULR Technology, (408) 675-7002x101, contact@kulrtechnology.com, www.kulrtechnology.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Storage,  KULR Technology,  Battery,  Energy STorage,  


    Solar Smart Windows Break 11 pct Efficiency (New Prod & Tech)
    NREL
    Date: 2017-12-04
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (NREL) reports it has demonstrated a prototype of a perovskite solar powered smart window that lowers building temperatures by shifting from clear to opaque under strong sunlight. When the shift to opaque occurs, the solar prototype begins electricity production. The prototypes tested reached up to 11.3 pct efficiency, NREL says.

    One potential smart window feature is the darkening of windows to minimize heat coming into a structure. Heating, cooling, and ventilation of commercial structures is up to 80 pct of their energy costs. (Source: NREL, electrk, 29 Nov., 2017)Contact: NREL, www.nrel.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar Window,  Solar,  NREL,  Energy Efficiency,  


    BETO Feedstock-Conversion Consortium Launched (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office
    Date: 2017-12-04
    In Washingto, the U.S. DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office is reporting the establishment of the Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium -- a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming technical uncertainty in the development of biomass feedstock supply, pre-processing, and conversion technologies. The consortium aims to improve the overall operational reliability of integrated biorefineries (IBRs).

    BETO has identified inconsistent feeding, handling, and initial conversion operations at IBRs as limiting factors in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals. According to the agency, IBR development and operation have suffered from failure to account for the complexity and variability of feedstock properties and composition and from a lack of fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry of biomass-derived feedstock pre-processing and subsequent deconstruction, combined with poor equipment design and flawed integration. Solving this significant current challenge is essential for advanced biofuels to fully reach their potential and for the economic benefits of new jobs and improved security of our fuel supply to be realized, the agency says.

    The Feedstock Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) is an integrated and collaborative network of eight national laboratories dedicated to addressing technical risks in developing and scaling up biomass harvest, storage, preprocessing and conversion technologies with the goal of improving the overall operational reliability of integrated pioneer biorefineries. FCIC laboratories members include, Idaho National Laboratory , National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. (Source: US DOE, BETO, Nov., 2017) Contact: FCIC, https://fcic.inl.gov; BETO Multi-Year Program Plan HERE.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Bioenergy Feedstock,  


    ExxonMobil Expands Methane Emissions Reduction Program
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2017-10-06
    Fort Worth-headquartered oil giant ExxonMobil has announced an enhanced program to reduce methane emissions from its production and midstream facilities nation wide. across the United States.

    The program prioritizes actions at sites operated by subsidiary XTO Energy and includes efforts to develop and deploy new, more efficient technologies to detect and reduce facility emissions. The program includes a commitment to phase out high-bleed pneumatic devices over three years, extensive personnel training, research, and facility design improvements for new operations.

    XTO's efforts include research conducted with ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and third-party equipment manufacturers to develop efficient, state-of-the-art equipment to detect, quantify and reduce emissions at production sites. These research efforts build on an extensive portfolio of more than two dozen existing methane research projects and pilots already under way.

    ExxonMobil recently participated in methane emissions studies conducted by the University of Texas and Environmental Defense Fund and is active in ongoing methane research, including participation in a methane measurement reconciliation study with the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and in supporting research currently underway at Harvard, the University of Texas Energy Initiative, and Stanford University's Natural Gas Initiative. (Source: ExxonMobil, 29 Sept., 2017) Contact: ExxonMobil, Media, (972) 444-1107, www.exxonmobil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil,  Climate Change,  Methane,  


    CSU Funded for Better Algae Biofuels R&D (Funding, R&D)
    Colorado State University
    Date: 2017-10-04
    Colorado State University scientists are reporting receipt of as much as $3.5 million over three years in US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) funding for Rewiring Algal Carbon Energetics for Renewables aimed at improving how algae-based biofuels and bioproducts are made. The overall project goal set by the Department of Energy is to double the yield of biofuel precursors from algae to about 3,700 gallons per acre per year.

    Strategies to be used by the team to meet this goal include increasing algal cultivation productivity, optimizing biomass composition, and extracting and separating different types of algal lipids to reduce the cost of upgrading them to renewable diesel.The study will be led by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

    The researchers will use an algae species called Desmodesmus armatus, and will focus on fundamental processes of efficiently channeling carbon dioxide into useful fuel intermediates. The project will work to ferment carbohydrates in the algal cells into chemicals of interest, including ethanol, as well as a fuel precursor called 2,3 butanediol.

    Other partners on the project will work on the algae-to-bioproduct life cycle, including modification of growing pond conditions, and separating algal solids from water to remove lipids.

    The multidisciplinary team includes CSU's Ken Reardon, professor of chemical and biological engineering; Graham Peers, associate professor of biology; and Jason Quinn, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; along with partners at National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines, Arizona State University, Utah State University, and representatives from industry. San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is a project partner and has pioneered the use of D. armatus for biofuels. (Source: Colorado State University, PR, 2 Oct., 2017) Contact: Colorado State University, Prof. Ken Reardon, kenneth.reardon@colostate.edu, www.colostate.edu; US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Colorado State University,  Sapphire Energy,  Algae,  Algal Biofuel,  BETO,  


    $15Mn DOE Funding for Integrated Biorefineries R&D (Funding, R&D)
    DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, BETO
    Date: 2017-09-22
    In Washington, the US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA are reporting the awarding of as much as $15 million to eight projects seeking to enhance the operations of integrated biorefineries and resolve R&D challenges needed for the "successful scale-up and reliable operations" of integrated biorefineries (IBRs). Other objectives will be to cut capital and operating costs and support the production of advanced or cellulosic biofuels and higher-value bioproducts.

    The projects will focus on: continuous handling of solid materials and feeding systems to reactors under various operating conditions; high-value products from waste in an integrated biorefinery; industrial separations within an integrated biorefinery; and analytical modeling of solid materials and reactor feeding systems.

    Thermochemical Recovery International Inc, Texas A&M Agrilife Research, White Dog Labs, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the South Dakota School of Mines, Forest Concepts, Clemson University and Purdue University are among the funding recipients. (Source: US DOE, BETO, Renewables Now, Others, 21 Sept., 2017) Contact: US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office; USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, https://nifa.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biorefinery,  DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office,  BETO,  


    U.S. DOE Promoting Net-Zero Energy Schools (Ind. Report)
    US DOE, NREL
    Date: 2017-09-01
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports it is working with k-12 school districts around the country to break down barriers to zero energy schools and to create educational facilities that can produce enough renewable energy to meet their consumption needs.

    To that end, DOE has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop a feasibility study on zero energy schools and provide specific energy usage targets to cost-effectively achieve zero energy and focused on strategies to balance energy consumption and energy supply. The pathways for managing energy consumption include optimal design of the building walls, roof, and windows, lighting systems, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, controls, and service water heating. (Source: US DOE, NREL, ProudGreenBuilding, Aug. 31, 2017)Contact: NREL, Dr. Martin Keller, Director, www.nrel.gov; US DOE BETO, www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Net Zero Energy,  NREL,  US DOE,  Energy Efficiency,  

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