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Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines Call for White Papers (Ind. Report)
DOE Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) Initiative
Date: 2020-11-18
The US DOE Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) Initiative is seeking proposals to leverage National Laboratory resources and overcome key technical challenges to advancing new liquid fuels and blendstocks, with an emphasis on biofuels from renewable and waste resources, which enable higher efficiency and lower environmental impact engines in on-highway vehicles.

Proposals should address specific technical challenges and barriers that Co-Optima researchers can address to move new fuels closer to market in conjunction with advanced, high-efficiency engines.

C-Optima focuses on developing new high-performance fuels that, when combined with advanced combustion approaches, can boost engine efficiency and cut emissions.

Download details HERE. (Source: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, PR, 13 Nov., 2020) Contact: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, www.energy.gov/eere

More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines Initiative,  Biofuel,  


DOE Announces $130Mn Funding for Solar Tech. Projects (Funding)
DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Technologies
Date: 2020-11-16
In Washington , the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is reporting the selection of 67 research project across 30 states for a total of $130 million in grant funding to reduce the cost of solar, increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, and improve the reliability of the nation's electric grid.

Along with advancing research in photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) and systems integration, the projects in DOE's SETO Fiscal Year 2020 Funding Program include research in artificial intelligence (AI), hybrid plants, and solar with agriculture. The following projects are being funded:

  • PV Hardware Research -- $14 million for eight projects that aim to make PV systems last longer and increase the reliability of solar systems made of silicon solar cells, as well as new technologies like thin-film and bifacial solar cells.

  • Integrated Thermal Energy Storage and Brayton Cycle Equipment Demonstration (Integrated TESTBED) -- $39 million will be awarded to Heliogen, Inc., which will build and operate a supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle that will serve as a test site to accelerate the commercialization of low-cost CSP plants.

  • Systems Integration -- $34 million for 10 research projects that will develop resilient community microgrids to maintain power during and restore power after man-made or natural disasters, improve cybersecurity for PV inverters and power systems, and develop advanced hybrid plants that operate collaboratively with other resources for improved reliability and resilience.

  • AI Applications in Solar Energy with Emphasis on Machine Learning -- $7.3 million for 10 projects that use AI and machine learning to optimize operations and solar forecasting, improve situational awareness on the distribution system and behind the meter, and enable the integration of more solar generation.

  • Innovations in Manufacturing: Hardware Incubator -- $14 million for 10 research projects that will advance innovative prototypes to a pre-commercial stage, including products that support U.S. solar manufacturing and reduce the cost of installation.

  • Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 3 -- $9.7 million for six research projects that will examine how information gets to stakeholders to enable better decision-making about solar and combining solar with energy efficiency, energy storage, and electric vehicles.

  • Solar and Agriculture: System Design, Value Frameworks, and Impacts Analysis -- $7 million for four projects that will advance the technologies, research, and practices necessary for farmers, ranchers, and others to co-locate solar and agriculture.

  • Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS): PV and CSP -- $5 million for 18 projects that advance innovative, novel ideas in PV and CSP that can produce significant results in one year. (Source: US DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, Website PR, 12 Nov., 2020) Contact: US DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office , www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  US DOE EERE,  


  • Toledo Solar Scores $1.7Mn for CdTe Tech. Development (Funding)
    Toledo Solar
    Date: 2020-11-16
    In the Buckeye State, Toledo Solar Inc. reports receipt of $1.7 million in grant funding from the US DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to develop semitransparent cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaics, a solar-cell material that could be suitable for use in windows, building facades, and rooftop solar modules a new solar-cell technology believed to be suitable for integration into building construction.

    The company will work with the University of Toledo's Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization Center, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and Project Vision Dynamics Inc. "to complete development of attractive, low-cost, high-efficiency solar window units and solar building facades through manufacturing innovations in CdTe module technology," according to the release. Prof. Michael J. Heben, the managing director of UT's Wright Center for Photovoltaics noted "Previously proposed options for incorporating photovoltaic power into building structures ave not made sense from a manufacturing point of view -- Toledo Solar's approach is entirely novel, and entirely doable, so the University of Toledo is very excited to be part of this effort."

    Toledo Solar is the only U.S. manufacturer of CdTe thin film PV for both residential and commercial rooftop markets, according to the company website. (Source: Toledo Solar,PR, Toledo Blabe, 14 Nov., 2020) Contact: Toledo Solar, 567-202-4145, info@Toledo-Solar.com, www.toledosolar-inc.com; US DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Toledo Solar,  Solar,  


    INL, Xcel Partner on Minn. Hydrogen Project (Alt. Fuels) Report)
    Xcel Energy,INL
    Date: 2020-11-16
    Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy is reporting it will work with the US DOE' Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to demonstrate a system that uses a nuclear power plant's steam and electricity to split water to produce hydrogen at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Station in Red Wing, MN . The resulting hydrogen will initially be used at the power plant, but could eventually be sold to other industries.

    More than $10 million in federal funding has been awarded to the project-- the first of its kind in pairing a commercial electricity generator with high-temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) technology.

    A recent analysis under DOE's H2@Scale initiative, led by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, estimated that hydrogen produced by HTSE at a nuclear plant could be cost competitive in today's market. (Source: Xcel Energy, INL,PR, Chem Engineering, 13 Nov., 2020) Contact: H2@Scale Initiative, www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/h2scale; Xcel Energy, www.xcelenergy.com; INL, (866) 495-7440, www.inl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Xcel Energy,  Idaho National Laboratory,  


    CEMEX's Miami Plant Cements ENERGY STAR Cert. (Ind. Report)
    CEMEX, ENERGY STAR
    Date: 2020-11-13
    Houston-headquartered CEMEX USA reports its Miami cement plant has achieved US EPA ENERGY STAR® Certification for 2020 -- the tenth consecutive year the plant has earned the recognition for energy efficiency and sustainability and ranked in the top 25 pct of similar US facilities.

    Since 2007, CEMEX USA cement plants have earned more than 50 ENERGY STAR® Certifications. In addition, dozens of CEMEX USA cement terminals and ready-mix concrete operations have achieved the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry. (Source: CEMEX USA, PR, 10 Nov., 2020) Contact: CEMEX USA, Jaime Muguiro, Pres., 713-650-6200, www.cemexusa.com; US DOE, ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CEMEX,  ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


    TOTAL, Partners Tout Next-Gen. CO2 Storage Simulator (Int'l. Report)
    TOTAL,Stanford University,LLNL
    Date: 2020-11-10
    Paris-headquartered energy major Total , US DOE Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Stanford University have released GEOSX, an open source simulator for large-scale geological carbon dioxide (CO2) storage.

    GEOSX was developed using advanced new technologies in high-performance computing and applied mathematics and aims to improve the management and safety of geological CO2 repositories. Its computing performance is unmatched to date. The open-source nature of GEOSX aims to ensure a high level of transparency, sharing and community support to pave the way for the large-scale development of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies.

    GEOSX is the first major outcome of the five-year FC-MAELSTROM research project launched in 2018 by Total, Stanford University School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, and LLNL. It draws on each partner's 20-plus years of expertise in simulation and high-performance computing research. GEOSX, www.geosx.org. (Source: TOTAL, PR, 10 Nov., 2020) Total Marie-Noelle Semeria, Total's Chief Technology Officer Media Relations: +33 1 47 44 46 99 l presse@total.com l @TotalPress Investor Relations: +44 (0)207 719 7962 l ir@total.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Stanford University news,  TOTAL news,  LLNL news,  CCS news,  Carbon Emissions news,  Carbon Storage news,  


    CenterPoint Raises $250Mn for Energy Efficiency Projects (Ind. Report)
    CenterPoint Properties
    Date: 2020-11-04
    Oak Brook, Illinois-headquartered industrial real estate company CenterPoint Properties is reporting closure of its inaugural $250 million green bond issuance.

    The bond proceeds will be used to finance projects such as green building construction, the development and operational maintenance of green buildings and to acquire new, refurbished, or existing buildings that receive LEED, ENERGY STAR® and other industry-leading certifications. Bond proceeds will also be used to fund energy-efficient projects within the company's current portfolio, including operational enhancement and other sustainable maintenance. (Source: CenterPoint Properties, PR, Mercom, 3 Nov., 2020) Contact: CenterPoint Properties, (630) 586-8000, www. centerpoint.com; LEED,US Green Building Council, Mahesh Ramanujam, Pres., CEO, (202) 552-1500, www.usgbc.org; US DOE, ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CenterPoint Properties,  LEED,  ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency ,  


    DISCA Touts Weatherization, Energy Efficiency Success (Ind. Report)
    DOE Weatherization Assistance Program
    Date: 2020-10-30
    In Michigan, the Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency (DISCA) is reminding the region about the US DOE Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) -- the nation's largest whole-house home energy upgrade program -- to assist low-income families invest in energy efficiency.

    Every $1 invested in WAP returns $4.50 in benefits, including energy savings and the health and safety of individuals, according to WAP. Under the WAP program, DICSA has weatherized 1,315 homes in Iron County and 2,015 homes in Dickinson County since 1989, at no cost to the home owner. Rental units also are eligible with landlord approval and 25 pct contribution on costs.

    Qualifying weatherization and energy efficiency measures include major bypasses, duct sealing/repair/replacement, duct insulation, attic insulation, smart thermostat, knee wall insulation and exterior wall insulation. Reducing electric baseload, such as refrigerator replacement and compact fluorescent lamps, smoke detectors, clothes dryer vents, combustion appliance testing/repair and/or replacement.

    Download DOE Weatherization Assistance Program details HERE. (Source: Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency, Daily News, 30 Oct., 2020) Contact: Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency, 906-774-2256, www.dicsami.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Weatherization Assistance Program,  


    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,  


    Bldg. Energy Efficiency Campaign Drives $95Mn Savings (Ind. Report)
    US DOE,
    Date: 2020-10-23
    One hundred and four U.S. companies, schools, governments, and institutions are taking their building energy savings to a new level with the 4-year US DOE Smart Energy Analytics Campaign funded through the Building Technologies Office (BETO) and facilitated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to expand the use of energy management and information systems (EMIS) in commercial buildings.

    The Campaign helped drive approximately 4 trillion BTUs of annual energy savings -- enough to power more than 44,000 U.S. households for a year -- reducing the campaign participants' collective energy bills by $95 million a year. The research also enabled Berkeley Lab to create the world's largest collection of data on building energy analytics -- the first real-world, large-scale body of evidence of EMIS' value to commercial buildings. Nationwide, if buildings throughout the commercial sector adopted EMIS best practices, the resulting savings in annual energy costs could total $4 billion.

    The campaign, a public-private partnership with businesses and public-sector organizations, has supported cutting-edge analytics technology use in over 6,500 buildings totaling 567 million sq-ft of floor space. It allowed Berkeley Lab experts to offer technical assistance and provide industry partners with frequent opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction, including exchanging best practices.

    Researchers found that average installation and software costs ranged from two to eight cents per square foot, depending on the type of EMIS system. The median participant saved approximately $3 million in annual energy costs across their portfolio and re-couped associated costs over a two-year period.

    Although the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign is concluding, its work will continue through DOE's Better Buildings program with ongoing support from the team of experts at Berkeley Lab. The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign is one of several successful Better Buildings Alliance technology drives, led by DOE's national laboratories, that aim to accelerate adoption of efficient building technologies by providing technical assistance, resources, and guidance on best practices. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, PR, Website, Oct., 2020) Contact: LBNL, Building Technology & Urban Systems Division, Jessica Granderson, Research Deputy, Better Buildings Campaign, HERE; BETO, www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/building-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,  BETO,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Colorado Cement Plant CCS R&D Funded (R&D, Funding)
    LafargeHolcim
    Date: 2020-10-21
    Swiss cement and building materials giant LafargeHolcim reports receipt of $1.5 million in US DOE grant funding to research and develop a system to capture and sequester CO2 emissions on a commercial scale at its cement plant in Florence, Colorado.

    When completed in 2024, the facility will be the first in the U.S. to use carbon-capture technology on a commercial scale. As previously reported, LafargeHolcim worked with carbon capture technology provider Svante to build a pilot carbon-capture unit at a plant in British Columbia, Canada.

    The cement sector is widely reported as the the world's third-largest industrial energy consumer and is the second-largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide, accounting for 7 pct of the global emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. (Source: LafargeHolcim, PR, Denver Post, 20 Oct., 2020) Contact: LafargeHolcim Ltd, Magali Anderson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Stephanie Sulcer, Communications, 847 716 0368, stephanie.sulcer@lafargeholcim.com, www.lafargeholcim.com

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


    Argonne National Lab Releases GREET Model® 2020 .Net (Ind. Report)
    Argonne National Lab
    Date: 2020-10-14
    The US DOE Argonne National Lab has developed a full life-cycle model called GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies) which enables the full evaluation of energy and emission impacts of advanced vehicle technologies and new transportation fuels, the fuel cycle and various vehicle and fuel combinations on a full fuel-cycle/vehicle-cycle basis..

    GREET.Net provides an easy to use and fully graphical toolbox to perform life cycle analysis simulations of alternative transportation fuels and vehicle technologies in a matter of a few clicks. It provides a comprehensive, life-cycle-based approach to compare the energy use and emissions of conventional and advanced vehicle technologies.

    The tool includes the data of both fuel-cycle (fuel production and vehicle operation) and vehicle-cycle (vehicle material recovery and production, vehicle component fabrication, vehicle assembly, and vehicle disposal/recycling).

    DOWNLOAD GREET® 2020.Net details HERE (Source: US DOE Argonne National Lab., 9 Oct., 2020) Contact: energy_systems@anl.gov, www.anl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Argonne National Lab,  Alternative Fuel,  Vehicle Emissions,  Greenhouse Gas Emissions,  


    FuelCell Energy Claims $8Mn DOE Contract (Ind. Report)
    FuelCell Energy
    Date: 2020-10-14
    Danbury, Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy is reporting receipt of an $8-million contract from the US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), in collaboration with the Office of Nuclear Energy, to design and manufacture a SureSource electrolysis platform capable of producing hydrogen.

    The project will be the first multi-stack electrolysis system produced with the solid oxide technology and equipped with an option of receiving thermal energy, thereby increasing the electrolysis electrical efficiency to more than 90 pct. The Idaho National Laboratories (INL) will test the system to confirm the electric efficiency and the ability to utilize nuclear power plant waste heat to obtain higher efficiencies of up to 100 pct.

    Fuel Cell Energy aims is to deliver clean, efficient and affordable fuel cell solutions configured for the supply, recovery and storage of energy for customers. This new project can assist FuelCell to commercialize the high-efficiency solid oxide electrolysis technology, according to the release. (Source: Fuel Cell Energy, PR, Yahoo Finance, 12 Oct., 2020)Contact: FuelCell Energy, Jason Few, CEO, 203-825-6000, info@fce.com, www.fuelcellenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News FuelCell Energy,  Energy Storage,  


    ISU Researchers Transforming Pennycress Into Commercial Crop (R&D)
    Illinois State University
    Date: 2020-10-02
    Although pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) is widely considered a weed, Illinois State University researchers are working to genetically modify pennycress into a commercially grown cover crop that could be processed into biofuel, jet fuel, animal feed, and other high-value products. The mult-istate, multi-institutional 5-year effort is funded by a $10 million USDA grant and $13 million from the US DOE.

    Domesticated, commercially grown pennycress could be grown as a cold-resistant, high-yield oilseed crop across the central United States, where nearly 80 million acres of land devoted to corn and soybeans sit dormant in the winter months.

    This research has been ongoing for 10 years with the latest grant awarded in 2020. Illinois State researchers are currently working under the umbrella of the Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience (IPREFER) program with colleagues at Western Illinois University, the University of Minnesota, The Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and the St. Louis-based crop development company CoverCress Inc.

    Download Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience (IPREFER) program details HERE (Source: Illinois State University, 1 Oct., 2020) Contact: Illinois State Univ., Professor John Sedbrook, (309) 438-3374, (309) 438-3722 -- fax, jcsedbr@ilstu.edu, www.illinoisstate.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pennycress,  Biofuel,  


    Sandia, PNM Announce Energy Storage Collaboration (Ind. Report)
    Sandia National Lab., PNM
    Date: 2020-09-23
    Albuquerque, N.M..-based Sandia National Laboratories and Public Service New Mexico (PNM), New Mexico's largest electricity provider, are reporting a ooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to collaborate in the fields of energy storage, solar photovoltaics, energy conversion systems and related projects to meet specific goals and targets. Funding and support for Sandia's work will be provided through the US DOE Office of Electricity's Energy Storage Program. The agreement and work aligns with Sandia's recently initiated $40 million, 7-year Resilient Energy Systems Mission Campaign.

    The first joint project will identify the tools needed to assess current and future energy storage technologies in an integrated, nearly statewide grid, and will conduct computer modeling and simulations and other analytic exercises to identify priorities. For the project, PNM will focus on the more immediate need to meet its emissions-free goal, while Sandia will examine R&D opportunities for the longer term, with a concentration on energy storage technologies and analytics. (Source: Sandia Nat. Labs, PR, Sept., 2020) Contact: Sandia Nat. Labs, James Peery, Director, Jason Martinez, Business Dev, (505)-401-3970, www.sandia.gov; PNM, Pat O'Connell, Dir. Resource Planning, (505) 241-2700, www.pnm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Sandia National Lab,  Energy Storage,  PNM,  


    DOE-NETL Funds LH CO2MENT Carbon Capture Tech (Funding, R&D)
    DOE-NETL
    Date: 2020-09-18
    As previously reported, the US DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE-NETL) awarded $1.5 million in funding for cost-shared R&D to support the initial engineering analysis and advancement of the LH CO2MENT Colorado Project which was launched earlier this year.

    The commercial-scale carbon-capture project, based in Florence, Colorado, is a partnership of Svante Inc., LafargeHolcim, Kiewit Engineering Group Inc., Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, and Total.

    With DOE funding in place the partnership has committed to evaluate the feasibility of the facility designed to capture up to 2 million tpy of CO2 directly from the Holcim cement plant and the natural gas-fired steam generator, which would be sequestered underground permanently by Occidental.

    Santa Clarita, California-based Electricore, Inc. will facilitate management of the federal grant, and Kiewit Engineering Group Inc. will lead the engineering development.

    This joint initiative follows the recently-launched Pilot Plant Project CO2MENT between Burnaby, British Columbia-based Svante, cement maker LafargeHolcim and Total in Canada at the Lafarge Richmond B.C. cement plant where progress has been made towards re-injecting captured CO2 into concrete. (Source: Total, PR, Business Wire, 17 Sept., 2020) Contact: Savante, (604) 456-0504, info@svanteinc.com; www. svanteinc.com; Total, www.total.com; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, www.oxy.com; Electricore, 661-607-0160, www.electricore.org; Kiewit Engineering, www.kiewit,ca DOE NETL, www.doe.netl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE NETL,  Total,  Carbon Capture,  DOE NETL,  LafargeHolcim,  Kiewit ,  


    ARPA-E Commits $16.5Mn for Biofuels Supply Chain Tech. (R&D)
    ARPA-E
    Date: 2020-09-04
    In Washington, the US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is reporting $16.5 million in funding for six projects as part of the Systems for Monitoring and Analytics for Renewable Transportation Fuels from Agricultural Resources and Management (SMARTFARM) program. These projects will develop technologies that bridge the data gap in the biofuel supply chain by quantifying feedstock-related GHG emissions and soil carbon dynamics at the field-level. These technologies will allow for improved efficiency in feedstock production and enable new ag-sector carbon removal and management opportunities.

    SMARTFARM teams will work to design and develop systems to quantify feedstock production life cycle GHG emissions at the field level reliably, accurately, and cost-effectively. Selected projects are capable of delivering a positive return on investment when field-level carbon emissions reductions are connected to associated biofuel carbon markets. The program also focuses on potential economic benefits to feedstock producers and future carbon management markets, potentially complementing yield-based revenues with incentives for input efficiency and restorative practices. This focus will also help to lay the groundwork for market structures to shift away from national averages and toward lower uncertainty field-based estimates for incentivizing efficiency and other services.

    Working to make the biofuel supply chain carbon-negative through the removal or sequestration of carbon would greatly improve biofuel's economic and environmental benefits. Achieving reductions in carbon emissions also encourages feedstock producers to adopt new technologies and practices to quantify their impact. SMARTFARM teams are working to develop robust quantification methods through these awards so that management practices can be linked to environmental and economic outcomes simultaneously.

    Download SMARTFARM projects funding recipients and details HERE (Source: ARPA-E, Website PR, Sept., 2020) Contact: ARPA-E, Lane Genatowski, Dir., www.arpa-e.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ARPA-E,  Biofuel,  Renewable Fuels,  


    DOE Awards $72Mn for Carbon Capture Tech (R&D, Funding)
    U.S. Department of Energy
    Date: 2020-09-04
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports the awarding of $72 million for the development and advancement of carbon capture technologies.

    Of the total, $51 million will go to nine new projects for coal and natural gas power and industrial sources. These efforts seek to design initial engineering studies to develop technologies to capture CO2 generated as a by-product of manufacturing at industrial sites. The remaining $21 million will support 18 projects for "direct air carbon capture' technologies and the development and field testing of new materials for use in direct air capture.

    "The primary mission of our office is to ensure that the United States can continue to rely on its fossil fuel resources for clean and secure energy. The advancement of carbon capture technologies, including direct air capture, contributes to that mission. Our ultimate goal is to mature these technologies so that they can be commercialized and brought to market", according to Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. (Source: US DOE, 3 Sept., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Department of Energy,  Carbon Capture,  CCS,  Direst Air Carbon Capture,  


    $1.3Mn Funds Fungus-Sorghum for Biofuels Study (R$D, Funding)

    Date: 2020-09-02
    According to a Northern Arizona University (NAU) release, researchers have been trying to harness the crop-growing benefits of the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi. To that end, the US DOE is particularly interested in producing sorghum more efficiently to reduce the need for irrigation and fertilizer, and has awarded Regents' Professor Nancy Johnson of NAU's School of Earth and Sustainability a $1.3 million grant to study the beneficial associations between biofuel sorghum and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

    For Prof. Johnson's study, a series of field and greenhouse experiments will examine the genetic and environmental factors that cause the variable performance of mycorrhizal symbioses in field conditions. The research study will also conduct shotgun (metagenomic) sequencing to understand what microscopic communities exist in samples of sorghum roots and how the plant can select which fungi it associates with to form mycorrhizal symbioses.

    The researchers will be growing more than 350 different genotypes of sorghum at agricultural experiment stations in Maricopa, Arizona and near Athens, Georgia to examine how sorghum genetics are interacting with AMF and other organisms in their microbiome.

    Systems models will be constructed that link sorghum performance with the communities of AMF and other microbes in the field experiments, and these models will be tested in the NAU Research Greenhouse complex.

    The study findings will help advance basic understanding of the genetic mechanisms by which plants control their associations with potentially beneficial root-associated microbes. (Source: Northern Arizona University, PR, 30 Aug., 2020) Contact: Northern Arizona University, Regents' Prof. Nancy Johnson, 928-523-6473, Nancy.Johnson@nau.edu, www.nau.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum,  Biofuel,  US DOE,  


    Adv. Biofuel Show Promise for Replacing Fossil Fuels (Ind. Report)
    Advanced Biofuel
    Date: 2020-08-31
    A new study led by Colorado State University is predicting significant climate benefits stemming from the use of advanced biofuel technologies. Accounting for all of the carbon flows in biofuel systems and comparing them to those in grasslands and forests, the team found clear strategies for biofuels to have a net carbon benefit.

    John Field, research scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at CSU, said it has been a challenge for the biofuel industry to demonstrate commercial viability for cellulosic biofuels created from switchgrass and other non-edible plants.

    The research team used modeling to simulate switchgrass cultivation, cellulosic biofuel production and carbon capture and storage (CCS), tracking ecosystem and carbon flows. Scientists then compared this modeling to alternative ways to store carbon on the land, including growing forest or grassland.

    CCS technology is being used by at least one facility in Illinois that is processing corn to ethanol as a conventional biofuel to create ethanol, but these systems are not yet widespread. As part of the study, researchers created models to simulate what this would look like at a cellulosic biofuel refinery. "What we found is that around half of the carbon in the switchgrass that comes into the refinery becomes a byproduct that would be available for carbon capture and storage. The resulting byproduct streams of high-purity CO2 would not require much separation or clean-up before being stored underground," the study noted.

    The research team analyzed three contrasting U.S. case studies and found that on land where farmers or land managers were transitioning out of growing crops or maintaining pastures for grazing, cultivating switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol production had a per-hectare mitigation potential comparable to reforestation and several-fold greater than grassland restoration.

    Using switchgrass can be particularly helpful in parts of the country where planting more trees is not an option.

    This research was partially funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the US DOE via the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil.

    The study illustrates how deliberate land use choices support the climate performance of present-day cellulosic ethanol technology and how technological advancements and CCS addition could produce several times the climate mitigation potential of competing land-based biological mitigation schemes. These results affirm the climate mitigation logic of biofuels, consistent with their prominent role in many climate stabilization scenarios, the study concludes. (Source: Colorado State University, Green Car Congress, Aug., 2020) Contact: Colorado State University, Natural Resource Ecology Lab, John Field, (970) 491-1604, John.L.Field@colostate.edu, www.nrel.colostate.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuel,  Cellulosic Biofuel,  Switchgrass,  


    LBNL Explores Cheaper Biofuels Production Costs (Ind. Report, R&D)
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    Date: 2020-08-31
    As previously reported, researchers at the US DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have designed simulations to determine how much biofuel is needed for the whole bioproduct extraction process to decrease the demand for petroleum-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels and to be labeled as "cost-efficient." Their study results found the target levels to be modest and that Biofuels can compete with petroleum-based fuels in terms of cost production, according to a release.

    Conventional biofuel production often involves genetically engineered plants that can produce essential chemical compounds, or bioproducts. These bioproducts are extracted from the plant, and the remaining plant parts are converted into fuel. This led LBNL scientists to investigate exactly how much bioproduct does a plant need to determine if the whole extraction process to be determined efficient, and how much bioproduct should be produced to reach the target ethanol selling price of $2.50 per gallon.

    To do this, the researchers studied existing data of well-studied plant-based bioproduct production. They used this data to make simulations that will determine the factors involved in extracting bioproducts using the context of bioethanol refinery, which means that bioproducts will be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant materials will be converted to ethanol. Their results determined that the bioproduct levels needed to accumulate in plants to offset the production cost recovery is quite feasible. Using limonene as an example, they calculated that an accumulated 0.6 pct of biomass dry weight would already produce net economic benefits to biorefineries. To illustrate, it means harvesting 10 dry metric tons of sorghum mass from one acre will only need 130 pounds of recovered limonene from that biomass to say that the whole production process is efficient, according to the release.

    The LBNL researchers note this new finding can provide new insights into the role of bioproducts to improve biorefinery economics and offer the first quantitative basis for implementation of this cost-saving strategy for future studies on plant-based biofuel breeding and engineering. The scientists also recommended that crops need to be engineered to produce a broad range of bioproducts in order to provide options and diversify products in the market. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April, 2020) Contact: LBNL, Laurel Kellner, Media, 510-590-8034, LKellner@lbl.gov, www.lbl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory news,  Biofuel news,  


    US DOE Awards $7Mn for Vehicle Emissions R&D (R&D, Funding)
    US DOE,SoCalGas
    Date: 2020-08-28
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports awarding more than $7.1 million for three vehicular emissions R&D projects aimed at advancing zero and near-zero emissions technologies for heavy and medium duty transportation vehicles. The R&D projects are run by Cummins, Inc., the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and the West Virginia University Research Corporation respectively with $730,000 in additional funding from SoCalGas.

    Cummins will work to develop a prototype, modular, scalable zero-emissions fuel cell design meant for both heavy-duty trucks and transit buses. The GTI project seeks to create a hybrid line-haul rail locomotive that runs on renewable natural gas, while West Virginia University will study the difference in maintenance and labor costs for alternative fuel trucks powered by natural gas, propane, and electric when compared against standard diesel trucks. In particular, it will examine the link between the operational facets of alternative fuel vehicles and their effects on maintenance and repair. (Source: US DOE, Daily Energy Insider, 28 Aug., 2020) Contact: GTI, 847-768-0500 847-768-0501 - fax, info@gti.energy, www.gti.energy; Cummins Inc., (317) 610-4244, www.cummins.com; SoCalGas, (800) 427-2200, www.socalgas.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE,  Vehicle Emissions,  Cummins,  GTI,  SoCalGas,  


    DOE Offers $20Mn to Advance Perovskite Solar Tech (R&D, Funding)
    DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    Date: 2020-08-14
    In Washington, the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). has announced $20 million in funding to advance perovskite solar photovoltaic technologies. When used to create solar cells, perovskites have shown potential for high performance and low production costs. To be competitive in the marketplace, perovskite’s long-term durability must be tested and verified, the aim of this funding opportunity announcement.

    The DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office is aiming to improve understanding of perovskite stability; establish methods to produce high-efficiency, stable perovskite devices using industry-relevant fabrication techniques; and develop test protocols that enable high confidence in long-duration field performance of perovskite-based photovoltaic technologies. DOE will fund projects in three topic areas: Device R&D (Efficiency and Stability); manufacturing and R&D; and validation and Bankability.

    This topic area seeks to establish a neutral, independent validation center that can be used to verify perovskite device performance and address acceptance and bankability challenges. Independence and neutrality are required to ensure there are no conflicts of interest between this effort and other projects seeking to demonstrate high-performance devices. This center will be responsible for developing and refining test protocols, including accelerated life testing that closely correlates with long-term field performance. The center will also be responsible for operating an extensive field testing effort using devices produced by the R&D community to iteratively refine all test protocols and improve community understanding of remaining stability and performance issues. The center will investigate the environmental impact of perovskite technologies and serve as an objective source of information and analysis for the investment and finance communities. Teams must be led by a DOE Federally Funded Research and Development Center/National Laboratory. (Source: US DOE, EERE Solar Energy Technology Office, PR, 13 Aug., 2020) Contact: EERE Solar Energy Technology Office, www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,  Solar,  


    ISU Investigating Pennycress Biofuel Potential (R&D, Ind. Report)
    Illinois State University
    Date: 2020-08-05
    Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, is reporting genetics Prof. John Sedbrook will head-up a nation-wide collaboration of university's and scientists to develop field pennycress oil into bio-jet fuel or biodiesel The $13 million project is being funded by the US DOE.

    Field pennycress, a member of the mustard family, can develop up to 65 gallons of oil and yield more than 1,500 pounds per acre of seeds.

    Field pennycress is primarily a winter cover crop throughout the United States and requires few inputs, little labor, and no land charge. Pennycress seed meal remaining from biodiesel production can be further processed to yield aviation fuel, livestock feed or protein isolates for human food, or as an organic fertilizer or a biofumigant, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. (Source: Illinois State University, 4 Aug., 2020) Contact: Illinois State University, Prof. John Sedbrook, (309) 438-3374, (309) 438-3722 - fax, jcsedbr@ilstu.edu, www.illinoisstate.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pennycress,  Biofuel,  


    ENERGY STAR Focus on Bakery Energy Efficiency (Ind. Report)
    ENERGY STAR
    Date: 2020-08-03
    The US DOE ENERGY STAR® program is reporting a new focus on helping the commercial baking industry cuts energy consumption and costs with improved energy efficiency. With the new focus, bakers can use the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management to build a bakery-specific energy management program focused on best practices from the industry.

    ENERGY STAR plant energy performance indicator (EPI) tools assess the energy performance of plants relative to similar plants and provide a 1 -- 100 ENERGY STAR score for a quick understanding of how the plant is performing. Plants receiving a score of 75 or higher are eligible to earn ENERGY STAR certification.

    Download details on EPIs and Benchmarking Industrial Energy Performance HERE.

    Download Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opportunities for the Baking Industry HERE. (Source: US DOE, ENERGY STAR, Aug., 2020) Contact: US DOE, ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Benchmark,  ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Petro Nova CCS Facility Mothballed (Ind. Report)
    Petro Nova, NRG Energy
    Date: 2020-07-31
    Houston-headquartered power utility NRG Energy confirmed to the Australian Financial Review that it has mothballed its Petra Nova carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility in Texas due to its poor financial performance.

    Since coming online in Jan., 2017, Petra Nova, the world's largest coal-fired power plant post-combustion CO2 capture system, captured over 3.9 million short (US) tons of CO2 which was used to produce over 4.2 million barrels of oil through enhanced oil recovery (EOR). (Source: US DOE Office of Fossil Energy, NRG Energy, Australia Financial Review, 30 July, 2020)Contact: US DOE Office of Fossil Energy, www.energy.gov/fe/office-fossil-energy; NRG Energy, Mauricio Gutierrez, CEO, (609) 524-4500, www.nrgenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CCS,  Enhanced Oil Recovery,  Petro Nova,  NRG Energy,  CCS,  


    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,  


    DOE Offering $64Mn Funding to Advance H2@Scale (Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-07-27
    In Washington, the U.S. DOE is reporting approximately $64 million in Fiscal Year 2020 funding for 18 projects that will support the H2@Scale vision for affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and use. These projects will fuel the next round of research, development and demonstration (RD&D) activities under H2@Scale's multi-year initiative.

    The projects will be funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO). The projects will feature collaborations with EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office on manufacturing reliable and affordable electrolyzers and with EERE's Vehicle Technologies Office on developing low-cost carbon fiber for hydrogen storage tanks. Other areas of focus include identifying durable and cost-effective fuel cell systems and components for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

    The funding will also spur demonstrations of large-scale hydrogen utilization at ports and data centers and across industrial sectors like steel making, and help build a comprehensive training program for a robust hydrogen and fuel cells workforce in the U.S. (Source: US DOE, PR, July 20, 2020) Contact: US DOE , H2@Scale, www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/h2scale

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Hydrogen,  US DOE,  


    UCLA Granted $2.9Mn to Convert CO2 Into Concrete (Funding, R&D)
    UCLA,CO2Concrete
    Date: 2020-07-27
    UCLA is reporting receipt of US DOE grant funding for the development of concrete from carbon dioxide emissions. The project is one of 11 sharing funding of $17 million from the US DOE's carbon utilization programme. A further $905,000 has been raised from industry partners and the UCLA discretionary funds.

    CO2Concrete has a carbon footprint 50-70 pct lower than traditional concrete, and captures carbon dioxide from raw flue gas emitted by cement plants and other sources. One particular attraction of the process is that it does not need a conventional carbon capture system. Cement production reportedly accounts for 8 pct of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

    A test centre to demonstrate the process is located at Dry Fork Station, a coal-based power plant near Gillette, Wyoming. (Source: UCLA, Global Construction Review, 27 July, 2020) Contact: UCLA, Civil Engineering Prof. Gaurav Sant, www. samueli.ucla.edu/gaurav-sant

    More Low-Carbon Energy News UCLA,  CO2,  Cement,  Concrete,  CO2Concrete,  


    DOE Offers $139Mn for Advanced Battery Technologies (R&D, Funding)
    DOE EERE
    Date: 2020-07-22
    The U.S. DOE reports its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is providing $139 million in funding for 55 projects that will research advanced batteries, electrification, and manufacturing in support of DOE's Energy Storage Grand Challenge -- a strategy to sustain U.S. global leadership in energy storage technology, utilization, and exports.

    The projects, which will be managed by EERE's Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), will aim to advance lithium-ion batteries using silicon-based anodes, reduce the need for critical minerals such as rare-earth materials, accelerate the development of smart charging technologies, improve efficiency for light-duty gasoline engines, increase demonstrations and infrastructure for advanced technology vehicles, develop lightweight and high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for vehicle applications, and support mobility technologies such as connected and automated vehicles, as well as innovations in transit. (Source: US DOE EERE, PR, 21 July, 2020) Contact: DOE EERE Vehicle Technologies Office, www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/vehicle-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE EERE,  Energy Storage,  Lithium-Ion Battery,  


    DOE Announces $11.5Mn for FLExible CCS Program (Ind. Report)
    DOE ARPA-E
    Date: 2020-07-15
    In Washington, the U.S. DOE has announced $11.5 million in funding for 12 projects as part of Phase 1 of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy's (ARPA-E) FLExible Carbon Capture and Storage (FLECCS) program. FLECCS project teams will work to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes that better enable technologies, such as natural gas power generators, to be responsive to grid conditions in a high variable renewable energy (VRE) penetration environment.

    FLECCS project teams are developing CCS retrofits to existing power generators as well as greenfield systems that intake fossil carbon-containing fuel like natural gas or bio-gas and output electricity. FLECCS Phase 1 teams will design, model, and optimize CCS processes that enable flexibility on a high-VRE grid. Later in the program, teams that move to Phase 2 will focus on building components, unit operations, and prototype systems to reduce technical risks and costs.

    In FLECCS Phase 2, up to $31 million in additional funding will be available for teams. At the conclusion of the Phase 1 period, teams will be down-selected based on an engineering design review and the projected economic impact of their Phase 1 projects on a future electricity grid. Selected teams will move on to receive additional funding, further develop their technologies and address Phase 2 challenges.

    Download a sampling of FLECCS projects and details HERE. (Source: US DOE ARPA-E, July, 2020) Contact: ARPA-E, Lane Genatowski, Director, arpa-e.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE ARPA-E,  CCS,  


    Building Energy Experts Recognized for Home Energy Performance (Ind. Report)
    Building Energy Experts
    Date: 2020-06-24
    Crystal Lake, Illinois-based Building Energy Experts reports it has been awarded the US DOE ENERGY STAR® Century Club Award for its "Comprehensive whole-house" approach to improve the energy performance of more than 100 homes as part of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program.

    Building Energy Experts' service improves energy efficiency and comfort, cuts home utility bills and helps protect the environment, according to the release.

    As a participating contractor in the utility rebate program, Building Energy Experts received specialized training and is equipped with high-tech diagnostic tools to inspect buildings and determine where improvements are needed. Rather than focusing on a single problem, like an old heating or cooling system, not enough insulation in the attic, or leaky windows, Building Energy Experts look at how improvements throughout a home can work together to give homeowners the best results. Depending on the improvements selected by the homeowner, annual utility bill savings, improved comfort and better home air quality are possible. (Source: Building Energy Experts, PR, 24 June, 2020) Contact: Building Energy Experts, Anthony Stonis , 888.623.3769, 312.656.4705 242338@email4pr.com, www.buildingenergyexperts.com; ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  ENERGY STAR,  


    DOE Invests $17Mn to Advance Carbon Utilization R&D (Funding)
    DOE Office of Fossil Energy
    Date: 2020-06-19
    In Washington, the U.S. DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 11 projects to receive approximately $17 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects for carbon utilization. The projects will develop and test technologies that can utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from power systems or other industrial sources as the primary feedstock. The research goal of DOE's Carbon Utilization Program is to reduce emissions and transform waste carbon streams into value-added products.

    "According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency, fossil fuels will continue to power our world well into the future. Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure these fuels are utilized as cleanly and efficiently as possible," said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. "DOE's Carbon Utilization Program is investing in cutting-edge technologies to allow us to capture carbon oxides, which will reduce emissions, and then recycle them into economically valuable services like enhanced oil recovery or products like plastics and carbon fibers."

    Projects resulting from this FOA will validate the concept, estimate the technology cost, and demonstrate that the carbon life cycle of the products offers a path toward an environmentally sustainable and economically viable product. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects.

    Additional information, including a full list of the 11 funded projects is HERE. (Source: US DOE , PR, 16 June, 2020) Contact: US DOE Office of Fossil Energy Carbon Utilization Program, www.energy.gov/fe/carbon-utilization

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Office of Fossil Energy news,  CCU news,  Carbon Emissions news,  


    DOE Better Buildings Initiative Trumpets Success (Report Attached)
    DOE Better Buildings Initiative
    Date: 2020-06-12
    In Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative 2020 Progress Report, the program has saved participants nearly $11 billion, avoid 105 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut water use by 8.5 billion gallons over the last decade.

    The program includes 32 Fortune 100 companies, 12 pct of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint and 13 pct of the nation's commercial building space. The program challenges businesses, manufacturers, cities, states, universities and school districts to improve building energy efficiency by at least 20 pct over a decade.

    Download the full report HERE. (Source: US DOE, June, 2020) Contact: US DOE, Better Buildings Initiative, www.betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Better Buildings Initiative,  Energy Efficiency,  


    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,  ,  


    Enphase, WU Collaborate on Renewables Grid (Ind. Report)
    Enphase Energy
    Date: 2020-05-27
    Fremont, California-headquartered global energy technology and solar microinverters specialist Enphase Energy, Inc. reports it is using its Enphase Ensemble™ technology to support a University of Washington (WU) initiative to develop control systems for unrestricted penetration of photovoltaic (PV) solar on the grid.

    In addition to roughly $1 million in US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), grant funding , Enphase will provide test platforms and invest approximately $420,000 over the project's three-year timeline.

    Enphase will run specialized test scenarios and gather data at the Company's single- and three-phase, on- and off-grid rooftop solar R&D facility in Austin, Texas. The test array is equipped with Enphase microinverters featuring the Company's custom ASIC, which powers the software-defined architecture that allows Enphase to reprogram a test fleet of microinverters with control architectures and algorithms developed by the University of Washington. The control architectures and algorithms will be tested to validate controller performance under real-world weather variability.

    The Enphase Encharge storage system features embedded grid-forming Enphase microinverters that enable always-on functionality and will be compatible with both new and existing Enphase IQ solar systems with IQ 6™ or IQ 7™ microinverters, providing a simple upgrade path for existing Enphase solar customers. (Source: Enphase Energy Inc., PR, 26 May, 2020) Contact: Christian Zdebel, 484-788-2384, pr@enphase.com, www.enphase.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Enphase,  Renewable Energy,  Renewables Grid.Rooftop Solar,  


    NM Tech Funded for $22Mn CCS Study (Ind. Report, Funding)
    New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
    Date: 2020-04-29
    The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NM Tech) is reporting receipt of $17.5 million in US DOE funding to study the safe storage of CO2 in underground saline reservoirs near the San Juan Generating Station. An additional $4.4 million in afunding will come from Enchant Energy and NM Tech funds.

    The data obtained from the $22 million effort will be used to prepare, submit and obtain a permit to construction a Class VI well to store CO2 captured from the power plant if Enchant Energy successfully retrofits San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology. The Class VI wells are intended to store carbon dioxide in a safe and secure manner for at least 990 years.

    Other recently funded CCS projects include:

  • Approximately $25.4 million for the Illinois Storage Corridor

  • Nearly $23.6 million for an early carbon dioxide storage complex in Kemper County, Mississippi

  • Roughly $25 million for a carbon dioxide storage well project in North Dakota as part of Minnkota Power's Project Tundra

  • About $19.1 million for a storage complex project in Campbell County, Wyoming, that would use CO2 captured from the coal-fired Dry Fork Station. (Source: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Farmington Daily Times, 27 April, 2020) Contact: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Robert Balch, Dir, Petroleum Recovery Research Center at New Mexico Tech, 575-835-5434, www.nmt.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Storage,  CCS,  CO2,  New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ,  


  • 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,  


    DOE Announces $25Mn for Grid Management Systems (Ind. Report)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-04-27
    The U.S. DOE has announced $25 million in funding for 10 projects as part of the Performance-based Energy Resource Feedback, Optimization, and Risk Management(PERFORM) program. These projects will work to develop innovative management systems that represent the relative delivery risk of each asset, like wind farms or power plants, and balance the collective risk of all assets across the grid.

    PERFORM teams will design risk scores that communicate the delivery risk of an asset's offer, such as the reliability of electricity from a solar plant due to the weather on a given day. They will also develop grid management systems that internally capture uncertainty and evaluate the system risk to meet or exceed a set baseline. This risk-driven paradigm will enable grid operators to better maintain a supply-demand balance and system reliability, even with the intermittency of renewables. In turn, they can optimally manage the system and assess the true value of essential reliability services in real time, allowing for a more diverse energy mix.

    Details and sampling of PERFORM projects HERE. (Source: US EPA, April, 2020) Contact: US DOE ARPA, www.arpa-e.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE,  Energy Management,  Smart Grid,  


    $38Mn Funding for Hydrokinetic Turbine Tech. Development (Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-04-13
    The U.S. DOE is reporting the availability of up to $38 million in funding through its Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems (SHARKS) program for the design of economically attractive hydrokinetic turbines for tidal and riverine currents.

    The turbine devices can be designed with low visual profiles and minimal environmental impact. They are also uniquely suited for micro-grid applications, supplying energy to remote communities and other "blue economy" and utility-scale applications. Hydrokinetic energy can also be used for climatological observation, aquaculture, desalination, ocean floor and seawater mining, disaster recovery, powering isolated communities and autonomous underwater vehicle support.

    Currently, significant technical and environmental barriers make current hydrokinetic turbine systems prohibitively expensive. SHARKS will fund the development of solutions for hydrodynamics, mechanical structures, materials, hydro-structural interactions, electrical energy conversion systems, control systems, numerical simulations and experimental validations.

    SHARKS projects will work towards a reduction in Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of up to 61.5 pct compared to current state-of-the-art hydrokinetic turbine systems. (Source: US DOE, April, 2020) Contact: SHARKS, arpa-e-foa.energy.gov › FileContent PDF

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE,  Tidal Energy,  Tidal Turbine,  Run of River,  


    LBNL Explores Cheaper Biofuels Production Costs (Ind. Report, R&D)
    Berkeley National Laboratory
    Date: 2020-04-10
    Scientists at the US DOE Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report they have designed simulations to determine how much biofuel is needed for the whole bioproduct extraction process to be labeled as cost-efficient. Their results showed that the target levels are actually modest and within reach, according to a press release.

    The development of biofuels over the past years is part of the strategy to decrease the demand for petroleum-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. However, biofuels are yet to reach the level where they can compete with petroleum-based fuels in terms of cost production. Conventional biofuel production often involves genetically engineered plants that can produce essential chemical compounds, or bioproducts. These bioproducts are extracted from the plant, and the remaining plant parts are converted into fuel. This led scientists from the Berkeley Laboratory to investigate exactly how much bioproduct does a plant need to determine if the whole extraction process to be determined efficient, and how much bioproduct should be produced to reach the target ethanol selling price of $2.50 per gallon.

    To do this, the researchers studied existing data of well-studied plant-based bioproduct production. They used this data to make simulations that will determine the factors involved in extracting bioproducts using the context of bioethanol refinery, which means that bioproducts will be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant materials will be converted to ethanol. Their results determined that the bioproduct levels needed to accumulate in plants to offset the production cost recovery is quite feasible. Using limonene as an example, they calculated that an accumulated 0.6 pct of biomass dry weight would already produce net economic benefits to biorefineries. To illustrate, it means harvesting 10 dry metric tons of sorghum mass from one acre will only need 130 pounds of recovered limonene from that biomass to say that the whole production process is efficient, according to the release.

    The BNL researchers note this new finding can provide new insights into the role of bioproducts to improve biorefinery economics and offer the first quantitative basis for implementation of this cost-saving strategy for future studies on plant-based biofuel breeding and engineering. The scientists also recommended that crops need to be engineered to produce a broad range of bioproducts in order to provide options and diversify products in the market. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April, 2020) Contact: LBNL, Laurel Kellner, Media, 510-590-8034, LKellner@lbl.gov, www.lbl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Berkeley National Laboratory,  Biofuel,  


    $15Mn Available for Tribal Land Biomass, Renewable Energy (Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-04-08
    The U.S. DOE is reporting the availability of up to $15 million for the deployment of bioenergy and other energy technology on tribal lands.

    Funding is being made available for: renewable energy generation and energy efficiency; community energy storage deployment; biomass, biogas, landfill or sewage gas, solid waste, waste gases fueled CHP systems. Eligible biomass projects must be able to demonstrate the sustainability of the biomass resource proposed for use.

    Download full DOE-FOA-0002317 details HERE. (Source: US DOE EERE, 27 Mar.,2020) Contact: US DOE EERE, eere-exchange.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE,  Bioenergy,  Biomass,  Biofuel,  Renewable Energy,  


    DOE Offering $22Mn for Carbon Capture R&D (R&D Funding)
    US DOE, US DOE Office of Science
    Date: 2020-04-03
    The US Department of Energy (DOE) reports it will provide up to $22 million for carbon capture (CC) research. The funding will come from the DOE's Office of Science ($12 million) and the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy will supply $10 million.

    For the Office of Science funding, DOE National Laboratories are invited to submit proposals for breakthrough research in materials and chemical sciences. The Office of Fossil Energy funding opportunity focuses on both the applied development of new materials and the field testing of CC prototypes. (Source: US DOE, GasWorld, 2 April, 2020) Contact: US DOE Office of Fossil Energy, Steven Winberg, www.energy.gov/fe; US DOE Office of Science, Dr.Chris Fall, Dir., www.energy.gov/science

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Capture,  Office of Fossil Energy,  DOE Office of Science ,  


    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,  


    PNNL Sustainable Energy Sciences Bldg. Underway (Ind. Report)
    PNNL
    Date: 2020-03-23
    Following up on our 24 Jan., 2019-report, in Washington State, the US DOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) reports construction is underway on it $90 million, 140,000-square-foot sustainable energy sciences research facility in Richland.

    The new facility is designed to facilitate PNNL collaboration with Washington State's Clean Energy Fund, Battelle and others on sustainable energy solutions as well as showcase scientific energy discoveries and progress. (Source: PNNL, Tri-City Herald, 23 Mar., 2020) Contact: PNNL, Steven Ashby, Dir, www.pnnl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News PNNL,  Sustainable Energy,  


    DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program Launched (Ind Report)
    Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program
    Date: 2020-03-13
    In Washington, the Trump administration DOE is touting the recently launched Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program aimed at accelerating the development of next-generation energy storage technology and creating and sustaining global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports by 2030. The Challenges goals are as follows:
  • Technology Development -- Establish ambitious, achievable performance goals, and a comprehensive R&D portfolio to achieve them;

  • Technology Transfer -- Accelerate the technology pipeline from research to system design to private sector adoption through rigorous system evaluation, performance validation, siting tools, and targeted collaborations;

  • Policy and Valuation -- Develop best-in-class models, data, and analysis to inform the most effective value proposition and use cases for storage technologies;

  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain --Design new technologies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and recyclability, and to reduce dependence on foreign sources of critical materials; and
  • Workforce -- Train the next generation of American workers to meet the needs of the 21st century electric grid and energy storage value chain.

    Download DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge program details HERE (Source: US DOE, Mar, 2020) Contact: Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program, www.energy.gov


  • DOE Ordered to Set Appliance Efficiency Standards (Ind. Report)
    DOE
    Date: 2020-03-13
    The Trump administration DOE has been ordered by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to impose energy efficiency, energy conservation standard upgrades for four set of appliances first proposed under the Obama Administration. Industrial air compressors, portable air conditioners, and uninterruptible power supplies or battery backup devices used to protect computers and other sensitive equipment are covered in the ruling.

    Under DOE's new rule, federal appliance energy efficiency upgrades must be "significant" -- defined under the rule as saving at least 0.3 quads of energy over 30 years or improving energy use by at least 10 pct above existing standards. (Source: US DOE, Heartland Institute, 12 Mar., 2020)

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


    California AG Led Coalition Challenges DOE Light Bulb Energy Efficiency Standards (Reg. & Leg.)
    DOE
    Date: 2020-03-02
    Reporting from Sacramento, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and a coalition of 16 attorneys general and the City of New York, have filed a lawsuit in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the the US DOE's Dec. 27, 2019 final determination rejecting stronger energy efficiency standards for common light bulbs.

    The DOE's "unlawful and ill-advised decision ignores direction from Congress to transition the nation to inexpensive, efficient, and widely available lighting sources. It would increase greenhouse gas emissions and consumers' energy costs," the suit claims.

    According to the California AG release, approximately three billion lighting sockets -- nearly half of all lighting sockets in U.S. homes -- contain bulbs affected by this proposal. DOE's decision directly impacts consumers who stand to lose significant energy savings.

    On December 27, 2019, DOE issued its final determination halting energy efficiency improvements to the lightbulbs in question, also known as General Service Incandescent Lamps (GSIL). It concluded that improved GSIL standards were not "economically justified." DOE's decision is part of an ongoing effort by the agency to stifle progress in energy efficiency. The agency's decision attempts to undermine a provision in federal law that moves retailers away from selling lightbulbs that do not meet the minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt. This decision would cost consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025 -- a $100 loss per household per year, accoding the the California AG release.

    DOE's decision amounts to a failure to enact a stronger standard in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

    Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing this lawsuit are the Attorneys General of New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of New York. (Source: Office of California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, YubaNet, 26 Feb., 2020) Contact: Office of California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, www. oag.ca.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency.Light Buld Energy Efficiency,  


    Co-Optima Offers Biofuel, Bioenergy R&D Funding (Funding, R&D)
    US DOE Co-Optima Initiative
    Date: 2020-02-21
    The US DOE Co-Optima Initiative is overseeing a Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) to apply the unique, world-class capabilities of the consortium toward addressing specific challenges identified by applicants from industry and academia.

    The Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) National Laboratory consortium is jointly sponsored by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office. Co-Optima focuses on developing new high-performance fuels that, when combined with advanced combustion approaches, can boost engine efficiency and cut emissions.

    The Co-Optima DFO is seeking proposals that overcome key technical challenges to accelerating adoption of new fuel-biofuel blend stocks from renewable resources, enabling higher efficiency and lower emissions in on-highway vehicles. For this DFO, biofuel blendstocks, biofuel production, bio-blendstock/biofuel property R&D is of particular interest and importance.

    Selected projects are anticipated to range from $200,000 up to $300,000 of Co-Optima National Laboratory assistance over the project duration of 12-18 months. Up to $2,000,000 will be available for this call and Co-Optima anticipates a total of 7-10 projects will be selected for funding. Industry partners will fund their own labor, materials, and other expenses directly, which contribute toward a 20 pct minimum cost-share requirement.

    Directed Funding Opportunity for Collaboration with National Laboratories details HERE. (Source: Co-Optima, PR, 18 Feb., 2020) Contact: DOE Co-Optima, www.cooptima.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Fuel,  Low-Carbon Fuel,  Renewable Fuels,  Biofuel,  


    Sioux City Schools Awarded ENERGY STAR Certification (Ind. Report)
    ENERGY STAR
    Date: 2020-02-17
    In the Hawkeye State, the Sioux City Community School District (SCCSD) is reporting 21 of its buildings have earned US DOE 2019 ENERGY STAR certification for superior energy performance and efficiency.

    The ENERGY STAR is awarded based on actual, verified energy performance. (Source: Sioux City Community School District, SiouxLand, KCAU, 15 Feb., 2020) Contact: Sioux City Community School District, www.siouxcityschools.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  

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