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CEMEX Carbon Capture Pilot Funded (Ind. Report)
CEMEX
Date: 2021-02-19
Houston-headquartered CEMEX USA is reporting receipt of an undisclosed amount of grant funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a pilot carbon capture unit at its Victorville, California, cement plant.

The project is a collaboration with Carbon Clean, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and RTI international which will lead the initiative. The project aims to develop and scaling-up specific CO2 capture process components and incorporate next-generation non-aqueous solvents. The collaboration will assess the integration of modular carbon capture technology with the cement plant as well as evaluate the cost and technical considerations of using the captured CO2 as a feedstock for new products.

As previously reported, in 2020 CEMEX announced its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 35 pct of cementitious products by 2030 as part of a longer-term goal of producing net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050. (Source: CEMEX, The Chemical Engineer, 18 Feb., 2021) Contact: CEMEX USA, Jaime Muguiro, Pres., 713-650-6200, www.cemexusa.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News CEMEX,  Cement,  Carbon Emissions,  CCS,  


SPARKZ Licenses ORNL Battery Production Technology (Ind. Report)
ORNL, Sparkz
Date: 2021-02-05
The US DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is reporting Knoxville, Tennessee-based battery energy storage start-up Sparkz Energy Systems (SPARKZ) has exclusively licensed ORNL's "fast formation cycling" technology that enables the rapid production of lithium-ion batteries commonly used in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles. The technology reduces production time significantly and also enhances battery performance, which can lead to reduced costs.

SPARKZ is presently seeking a location for an R&D and prototyping facility to scale their licensed battery technologies to meet the demands of customers in the mobility and grid sectors, according to the release. (Source: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy, PR, Feb., 2021) Contact: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy, www.ornl.gov/partnerships; Sparkz Energy Systems, Sanjiv Malhotra, CEO, www.sparkz.energy

More Low-Carbon Energy News ORNL,  Battery,  Sparkz,  


Nat. Labs Say Sugars Key in Ideal Biofuel Feedstock (Ind. Report)
ORNL,NREL
Date: 2020-10-23
According to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), although tall, fast-growing trees are best for biomass/biofuel feedstock the amount of sugars contained within the cellulosic biomass that can be converted into fuels is equally important.

Feedstock growers typically look at how many trees they can plant per acre rather than the quality and volume of fuel those trees will produce. To address the issue, the researchers analyzed 900 samples of black cottonwood trees -- a type of fast-growing poplar -- grown in Oregon to determine how variations in their size and composition affect feedstock quality and biorefinery economics.

The researh found the amount of fuel produced per-acre per-year and the minimum fuel selling price(MFSP) are most strongly connected to the size of a tree. Since a farmer would only plant the biggest and fastest growing trees, the researchers examined those and found that the size and sugar content in those trees were of nearly identical importance to the MFSP.

Download Economic Impact of Yield and Composition Variation in Bioenergy Crops: Populus trichocarpa report details HERE. (Source: US DOE ORNL, Center for Bioenergy Innovation, 19 Oct., 2020) Contact: Center for Bioenergy Innovation, www. cbi.ornl.gov; ORNL, Kimberly A Askey, (865) 576-2841, askeyka@ornl.gov, www.ornl.gvo

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  Lignin,  ORNL,  NREL,  Cellulosic,  


Georgia Power's Smart Neighborhood Initiative Lauded (Ind. Report)
Georgia Power
Date: 2020-07-29
Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power reports its Smart Neighborhood Initiative -- a real-world R&D project -- has been recognized by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) as part of its annual awards that celebrate innovation and collaboration of utilities, industry players and individuals shaping the future of energy. The initiative was included in Southern Company's designation as a 2020 SEPA Utility Business Models Power Player of the Year.

Georgia's first-of-a-kind Smart Neighborhood, located in Atlanta, includes 46 technology-enhanced townhomes equipped with battery backed rooftop solar arrays, optimal insulation for maximum efficiency, advanced heating and cooling systems, LED lighting, home automation, including smart thermostats, smart locks and voice control.

The Smart Neighborhood is a real-world research and development (R&D) project, including a supporting partnership with the Southern Company Energy Innovation Center. The company collaborated with U.S. DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on the initiatives. The information and data collected from the distributed energy resources will provide researchers valuable operational experience as the company continues to evaluate microgrids along with residential battery storage and rooftop solar. Information from the HVAC systems, heat pump water heaters and other technologies will help inform new programs and services for customers.

Georgia Power also offers a full suite of smart-home options, which includes easy access to products and services to help make customers' homes more energy efficient and connected. The company brings together popular products in the Smart Neighborhood, including the latest in smart thermostats and smart home products such as smart filters, lighting, door locks, light switches, vents, smoke alarms and doorbells, to a single online portal.

Download Georgia Power Smart Neighborhood Initiative HERE. (Source: Georgia Power, PR, 28 July, 2020) Contact: SEPA, www.sepapower.org; Georgia Power, www.georgiapower.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Georgia Power,  Energy Efficiency,  


WVU Leading $10Mn Biomass to Bioproducts Project (Ind. Report)
WVU
Date: 2020-07-15
In Morgantown, West Virginia, with the help of a $10 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, West Virginia University is spearheading the development of a perennial multi-feedstock production system that is sustainable and economically feasible for the region.

At the heart of the project is the establishment of the Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Biomass for Value-Added Products Consortium (MASBio), a regional group of universities, industry partners, national laboratories and governmental agencies interested in advancing the science and practice of sustainable bioproducts.

Led by, MASBio will leverage research, education and extension strategies for increasing utilization of available resources in the Mid-Atlantic region. Plans include utilizing some of the mined and marginal lands to grow switchgrass, hybrid willow, a short-rotation woody crop, which can benefit the land, economy and biomass feedstock production. The sustainable biomass crops feedstock crops will be blended with logging residue wood chips to create a massive regional multi-feedstock biomass supply chain with minimized costs, consistent quality and continuous supply.

Consortium partners include Penn State University, Virginia Tech, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, West Virginia State University, Eastern WV Community and Technical College, U.S. Department of Energy Idaho National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S.Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory and Rocky Mountain Research Station. Industry partners include: Double-A-Willow, Allstar Ecology, Ernst Biomass, Lignetics, Gas Technology Institute, Norris Thermal Technologies, Torresak and Eastern Biochar. (Source: WVU News, PR, 9 July, 2020) Contact: West Virginia University , Prof., Jingxin Wang, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, Lindsay Willey, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design 304-293-2381; Lindsay.Willey@mail.wvu.edu, www.wvu.edu

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biomass,  Biofuel Feestock,  Willow,  Switchgrass,  


ORNL Touting New Sustainable, Low Cost Fuel Tech (New Prod & Tech)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Date: 2020-03-30
The US DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), working with Vertimass LLC, a licensee of the technology, reports development of Consolidated Dehydration and Oligomerization (CADO), a new technology to turn ethanol into competitively priced sustainable fuels.

The single step CADO process is capable of converting vapor of wet ethanol into hydrocarbon blendstocks competitively priced at $2/gigajoule that can be blended with gasoline, diesel, or jet fuels to diminish emissions of greenhouse gases.

The conversion procedure of fuel uses zeolite, a kind of catalyst, to create actual loner chains of hydrocarbons from ethanol (alcohol). The process substitutes the traditional multi-step processes and uses less energy. (Source: ORNL, PR, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Daily Facts & Trends, 29 Mar., 2020) Contact: US DOE Office of Science, www.energy.gov/science; ORNL Center for Bioenergy Innovation, Brian Davison, Chief Science Officer, 865-576-7658, www.ornl.gov; Vertimass LLC, John Hannon, CEO, www.vertimass.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Oak Ridge National Laboratory,  Alternative Fuel,  Sustainable Fuel,  


Univ. Tenn. Peatland Carbon Processes Investigation Funded (Funding)
University of Tennessee
Date: 2020-01-27
A UT microbiologist has received a portion of a $3.1 million grant from the US DOE to study how global warming could affect peatlands and their vast carbon stores in the future.

Steven Wilhelm, the Kenneth and Blaire Mossman Professor of Microbiology, is part of a team led by Jean-Philippe Gibert, a food web expert and assistant professor of biology at Duke University. Wilhelm's co-investigators include David Weston and Dale Pelletier, staff scientists in the Biosciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Jonathan Shaw, professor of biology at Duke. In the three-year project, the group will study and model the effects of warming on the complex network of bacteria, protists, and viruses that interact with peat moss.

Peat moss plays a key role in slowing climate change by keeping 370 million metric tpy of CO2 out of the atmosphere -- equivalent to the emissions from nearly half the car traffic in the US.

Though peatlands cover just 3 pct of the Earth's surface they store twice as much carbon as all the world's forests. Over hundreds or thousands of years, Sphagnum and other peatland plants pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as they grow, trapping the carbon inside layers of partially decayed plant material up to 20 feet deep. But warming trends could put that carbon storage at risk. Rising temperatures could thaw or dry out peat wetlands, making them more prone to decay and wildfires. Decomposing or burning plants mean the heat-trapping gas long locked up in peatlands could be released, accelerating the global warming process.

To better predict the impacts of warming on peatlands and the carbon they contain, the team is studying a set of players they say are largely overlooked: microbes. Their previous work suggests that under future warming, the community of microbes and other tiny organisms that grow in and around peat mosses could shift balance, which could affect the ability of peatlands to sequester carbon. (Source: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, PR, 27 Jan., 2020) Contact: University of Tennessee, Karen Dunlap, 865-974-8674, kdunlap6@utk.edu, Amanda Womac , 865-974-2992, awomac1@utk.edu, www.utk.edu; Duke University, Robin Smith, (919-681-8057, robin.a.smith@duke.edu, www.duke.edu

More Low-Carbon Energy News Peatland,  Carbon Storage,  Carbon Sequestration,  Carbon Emissions,  University of Tennessee,  


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,  


ORNL Process Sustainable Fuel Viability Studied (Ind. Report, R&D)
Vertimass,ORNL
Date: 2019-12-02
A technology developed at the U.S. DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and scaled up by Irvine, California-based Vertimass LLC to convert ethanol into fuels suitable for aviation, shipping and other heavy-duty applications can be price-competitive with conventional fuels while retaining the sustainability benefits of bio-based ethanol, according to a new analysis.

ORNL worked with technology licensee Vertimass and researchers at 10 other institutions on a technoeconomic and a life cycle sustainability analysis of the process -- single-step catalytic conversion of ethanol into hydrocarbon blendstocks that can be added to jet, diesel, or gasoline fuels to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. This new technology is called Consolidated Dehydration and Oligomerization (CADO).CADO.

The analysis, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that this single-step process for converting wet ethanol vapor could produce blend-stocks at $2/gigajoule (GJ) today and $1.44/GJ in the future as the process is refined, including operating and annualized capital costs. Thus, the blend-stock would be competitive with conventional jet fuel produced from oil at historically high prices of about $100/barrel. At $60/barrel oil, the use of existing renewable fuel incentives result in price parity, the analysis found.

The conversion makes use of a type of catalyst called a zeolite, which directly produces longer hydrocarbon chains from the original alcohol, in this case ethanol, replacing a traditional multi-step process with one that uses less energy and is highly efficient. The conversion operation could be integrated into new biofuels plants or installed as bolt-on technology to existing ethanol plants with minimal new capital investment, the researchers noted.

The project was supported by the Center for Bioenergy Innovation at ORNL, which in turn is supported by the DOE Office of Science. Scale-up R&D were supported in part by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and by Vertimass. (Source: ORNL, PR, NewsWise, Nov., 2019) Contact: US DOE Office of Science, www.energy.gov/science; DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) at ORNL , Brian Davison, Chief Science Officer, Vertimass LLC, John Hannon, CEO, www.vertimass.com; DOE EERE Bioenergy Technologies Office, www.energy.gov › eere › bioenergy

More Low-Carbon Energy News ORNL,  Biofuel,  Ethanol,  Vertimass,  


Georgia Power Launches Atlanta "Smart Neighbourhood" (Ind. Report)
Georgia Power,Pulte Group
Date: 2019-08-07
The utility Georgia Power is touting the launch of a new "Smart Neighbourhood" in Atlanta.

Each of the new community's 46 townhouses is equipped with solar panels, batteries and energy efficiency components such as heat pump water heaters (HPWH) connected to a neighborhood microgrid. The microgrid-linked townhouse resources will be managed and optimized with a "grid-interactive control system" developed by the US DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supported by the national Buildings Technology Office.

The "Smart Home" technology in each of the town houses was developed by Atlanta-based home builder Pulte Group Inc. in partnership with with Georgia Power. Thermostats, security systems, appliances and other features can be controlled via the Pulte controls suite and through phone app and voice activation. According to Pulte, the energy optimization platform can schedule the use of appliances in coordination with the solar and battery and thus lower energy costs. (Source: US DOE, Pulte Group, Energy Storage, 6 Aug., 2019)Contact: Pulte Group Inc., www.pultegroupinc.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Georgia Power,  Energy Efficiency,  Smart Energy,  Smart Neighborhood,  


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,  


  • 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,  

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