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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,  


    US DOE Offering $125.5 Mn for Solar R&D Initiatives (Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-02-12
    The US DOE is reporting the availability of as much as $125.5 million financing for research and development projects focused on reducing the cost and enhancing the cooperativeness of domestic solar energy.

    Of the total, $39 million is earmarked for one or two projects seeking to develop a test site to speed up the commercialization of supercritical carbon dioxide power cycles used by concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. Up to 11 projects will qualify for a total of $30 million for developing community microgrids and boosting the cybersecurity for solar inverters and power plants.

    An additional $15 million will be shared by between * and 12 projects aimed at prolonging the lifespan of PV systems and cut hardware costs for plants using traditional silicon solar cells, as well as thin-film, tandem and perovskite cells. Innovative solar manufacturing projects, emerging technologies, solar farm siting and artificial intelligence applications for the solar sector will also qualify for funding under this offering. (Source: US DOE, Feb., 2020) Contact: US DOE, www.energy.gov › eere › office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy, energy.gov/solar-office

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


    GE Developing Advanced PV Inverter Technology (Ind. Report, R&D)
    GE Research,
    Date: 2020-02-12
    GE Research, the central technology development arm for the General Electric Company is reporting receipt of $4.2 million in funding from the U.S. DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to help develop and deploy advanced grid-forming photovoltaic (PV) inverter control technologies to support higher amounts of solar power on the grid. GE will contribute $1.4 million to the project.

    The development of "grid-forming" controls will allow wind and solar inverters to form voltage and frequency levels like traditional generators, creating an opportunity for greater and more resilient integration of these resources into the grid. (Source: GE Research, PR, 7 Feb., 2020) Contact: DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, energy.gov/solar-office; GE Research, www.ge.com › research

    More Low-Carbon Energy News GE Research,  PV,  US DOE SETO,  


    WMU Scores $9.6Mn for Li-Ion Battery RED (R&D, Funding)
    Western Michigan University
    Date: 2020-02-12
    In Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University (WMU) is reporting receipt of $9.6 million in US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy grant funding for a new sustainable lithium-ion battery R&D project entitled "Enabling Advanced Electrode Architecture through Printing Technique."

    The project focuses on developing cost-effective manufacturing process for better lithium-ion batteries for various applications. The project is being led by assistant professor Dr. Qingliu Wu of WMU's Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering. (Source: Western Michigan University, WKZ, 10 Feb., 2020) Contact: Western Michigan University, Dept. of Paper and Chemical Engineering, (269) 276-3500 www.wmich.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Battery,  Energy Storage,  


    LLNL Envisions CO2 Cuts Without Cutting CA Oil Prod. (Ind. Report)
    Lawrence Livermore National Lab
    Date: 2020-02-07
    In the Golden State, a new study from the US DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) has found that California can bury or offset 125 MW per year of CO2 by 2045 through land management practices, waste material processing, capturing atmospheric CO2 and storing the gas deep underground without negatively impacting the state's oil production.

    The study also suggests the local economy might be able to avoid fallout from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to achieve carbon neutrality, in part, by managing the decline of California's Kern-centric oil industry and Kern's previously recognized geologic underground carbon storage capacity.

    The LNL report -- Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California -- also notes the entire effort would cost less than $10 billion per year, or less than .05 pct of the state's economic output.

    According to the report, 84 megatons per year of CO2 emissions can be rerouted by creating biofuels from biomass and that carbon associated with such activities could then be buried. Another 25 megatons per year could be avoided by restoring woodlands, grasslands and wetlands, among other land-management practices. Additional savings could be pulled right out of the air using energy-intensive technology. (Source: Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Bakersfield.com,3 Feb., 2020) Contact: Lawrence Livermore National Lab, www.llnl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California,  Lawrence Livermore National Lab ,  


    $18.8Mn DOE Funding for Low-Temp Geothermal R&D (R&D, Funding)
    US DOE EERE,
    Date: 2020-02-07
    The U.S DOE has announced an $18.8 million funding that will go towards six innovative R&D initiatives aimed towards:
  • Exploration RD&D -- Hidden Geothermal Systems in the Basin and Range; and
  • Advanced Energy Storage Initiative (AESI) -- Bi-directional Energy Storage Using Low-Temperature Geothermal Applications.

    The first topic aims to build on the success of the Geothermal Technologies Office's Play Fairway Analysis (PFA) initiative. The PFA technique is a method for discovering hidden hydrothermal systems in the Basin & Range region of the western U.S using known geologic factors associated with geothermal systems. By reducing the uncertainty of discovering geothermal systems in such settings, development and investment in the area can become more attractive.

    The second topic aims to enhance the resilience of energy systems through the use of Reservoir Thermal Energy Storage (RTES) technology particularly in low-temperature geothermal systems. Deep-Direct Use (DDU) for space heating is being considered as the best application of this technolgoy, as excess thermal energy during summer could be stored as a reserve for winter heating.

    Interested applicants may submit a letter of intent until February 28, 2020, 5 PM. Only those who have submitted the letter will be eligible for full applications, which will be accepted until April 6, 2020, 5 PM. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, 6 Feb., 2020) Contact: U.S. DOE Geothermal Technologies Office, geothermal@ee.doe.gov, egs@ee.doe.gov, www.energy.gov/eere/geothermal/geothermal-technologies-office-contacts-0

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


  • Pioneering EEaaS Providers, Navigator Touted (Ind. Report)
    CBRE, General Electric,Johnson Controls
    Date: 2020-02-03
    Nasdaq is reporting Johnson Controls, commercial real estate services provider CBRE, and industrial conglomerate General Electric Company have made investments in companies that provide Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaaS) and perform energy efficiency upgrades under long-term contracts with private and public sector building owners.

    As defined by the US DOE, EEaaS is a pay-for-performance, off-balance-sheet type of finance structure that enables customers to implement energy and water efficiency projects with no up-front capital expenditure. The provider of the upgrades pays for project development, construction, and maintenance costs while the customer -- building owner -- makes service payments based on actual energy savings on a long-term basis.

    Access the Better Buildings Financing Navigator HERE. (Source: Various Media, Nsadaq News, 31 Jan., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  General Electric,  CBRE,  Johnson Controls,  


    DOE Finalizes Rule for Appliance Efficiency Standards (Ind. Report)
    DOE
    Date: 2020-01-29
    "There are a number of problematic Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards for home appliances. Perhaps worst of all is the one resulting in dishwashers taking hours to do the job. Fortunately, CEI's petition to modify the regulations to allow dishwashers that can finish a load in an hour or less is making headway at the agency, and it doesn't hurt that President Trump has expressed strong support for the effort. But even better than fixing bad regulations is preventing them from happening in the first place, and DOE's recent process rule, applicable to all future appliance rule-makings, contains a number of useful measures.

    "Most importantly, the agency will henceforth forbid standards that fail to deliver significant energy savings. Efficiency standards typically raise the upfront cost of the appliance, but presumably pay the consumer back in the form of lower energy bills -- unless the energy savings are too trivial.

    "The process rule contains a new bright-line requirement that a new or amended standard must save an estimated 0.3 quadrillion BTUs over 30 years (or improve current efficiency by at least 10 percent). According to the agency, if this threshold had already been in place, 40 pct of the appliance rules would have never been enacted. These 40 pct are so useless that, in aggregate, they account for a mere 4 pct of the program's estimated energy savings. Thus, this provision would eliminate those standards most likely to impose more pain than gain for consumers.

    "Other provisions in the process rule allow for a more open and interactive regulatory process, rather than one that limits the manufacturers' input while the rule is being fashioned by the agency. The process rule is also judicially enforceable." (Source: US DOE, Competitive Enterprise Institute - Blog, 29 Jan., 2020)

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


    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,  


    DOE Announces $300Mn for Sustainable Transport R&D (R&D, Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-01-27
    The US DOE has announced three separate funding opportunities totaling nearly $300 million for sustainable transportation fuels, resources and technologies R&D.

    Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the three FOAs will be issued on behalf of the three transportation offices: Vehicle, Fuel Cells, and Bioenergy Technology Offices. Brief summaries of the FOAs follow:

  • FY20 Vehicles Technologies Office (VTO) Multi-Topic FOA ($133M) -- Issued on behalf of DOE's VTO , topic areas within this FOA address priorities in advanced batteries and electrification; advanced engine and fuel technologies, including technologies for off-road applications; lightweight materials; new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations.

  • H2@Scale New Markets FOA ($64M) -- Issued on behalf of DOE's Fuel Cells Technologies Office (FCTO), topic areas within this FOA advance DOE's H2@Scale initiative. This investment will support innovative hydrogen concepts that will encourage market expansion and increase the scale of hydrogen production, storage, transport, and use, including heavy-duty trucks, data centers and steel production.

  • FY20 Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Multi-Topic FOA ($100M) -- Issued on behalf of DOE's BETO, topic areas within this FOA support the U.S. bioeconomy by reducing the price of drop-in biofuels, lowering the cost of biopower, and enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources.(Source: USDOE, 25 Jan, 2020) Contact: US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuels,  Bioenergy,  DOE BETO,  DOE EERE,  


  • MSU Researching Green Algae Biofuel (R&D, Ind. Report)
    Missouri State University
    Date: 2020-01-24
    Missouri State University (MSU) reports professor Jianlin Cheng is working with the St. Louis-based Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to make green algae an efficient, cheap source of energy to replace fossil fuel.

    According to the MSU report, if enough green algae could be produced to cover half the state of Maine, for example, it could supply enough "green oil" to replace all of the petroleum used in the United States right now. According to the US DOE, the U.S. has the capacity to produce 5 billion gallons of fuel from algae per year by the year 2030, at a cost of $2.50 per gasoline gallon equivalent. To that end, "algal biomass will need to be produced from large-scale farming operations, similar to agricultural crops," the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said in a statement.

    Cheng, a researcher with the Interdisciplinary Plant Group and director of Bioinformatic at MU, is adapting artificial intelligence to map the shapes and amino acids of proteins to help bioengineers change the structure of the algae and make it more less costly and more efficient for biofuel production.

    Cheng's project Deep Learning Prediction of Protein Complex Structures was supported by $167,797 from the US DOE. (Source: University of Missouri, The Columbian, 23 Jan., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  


    DOE Offering $75Mn for Bioenergy Crop R&D (R&D, Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-01-13
    In Washington, the US DOE has announced the availability of as much as $75 million in individual grants ranging from $1 million to $3 million over five years for research to develop of sustainable bioenergy crops that are "tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions." Funded research will focus on the genetic and physiological mechanisms influencing plant productivity and resource use, among other factors.

    Qualifying Universities, industry and non-profit research institutions will collaborator with DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies. (Source: USA DOE, PR, Jan., 2020)Contact: US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE BETO,  Bioenergy Crop,  Bioenergy R&D,  


    Richardson Recognized for Fleet Alternative Fuels Use (Ind. Report)
    Clean Cities Coalition
    Date: 2020-01-03
    In the Lone Star State, the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition has recognized the City of Richardson for its efforts adoption of alternative fuels to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency of fleet vehicles, according to the coalition's website.

    The awards are given on an annual basis. This is Richardson's fifth year in a row to win the Fleet Recognition Award, according to the city.

    Download US DOE Clean Cities Coalition program details HERE. (Source: Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities , Community Impact, 31 Dec., 2019) Contact: Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities, cleancities@nctcog.org, www.dfwcleancities.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Alternative Fuel,  Clean Cities Coalition,  


    IFB Comments on RFS 2020 Ruling (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Illinois Farm Bureau
    Date: 2019-12-23
    "Illinois farmers expected more than what EPA managed to deliver in its final supplemental rule. More than 1,600 Farm Bureau members told the agency in person and in writing that maintaining the integrity of the RFS only occurs by replacing each and every gallon in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) that is waived for the benefit of small oil refiners. The EPA seems to be missing a real opportunity to rebuild trust with farmers and the biofuels industry.

    "IFB also urges USDA to move quickly on an infrastructure package to accommodate higher blend levels."

    The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) represents 75 pct of the state's farmers with membership of more than 386,291 and a voting membership of 79,159. Illinois is the nation's third-largest producer of ethanol with roughly 75 pct of it corn production being converted into ethanol. (Source: Illinois Farm Bureau, 21 Dec., 2019) Contact: Illinois Farm Bureau , t Richard Guebert, Jr, Pres. www.ilfb.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  USDA,  US DOE,  Renewable Volume Obligation ,  


    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,  


    NIFA Supports Bio-jet Fuel Technology R&D (R&D Report)
    USDA,National Institute for Food and Agriculture
    Date: 2019-12-18
    In the Cornhusker State, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is reporting receipt of grant funding from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support collaborative research by Washington State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the use of camelina oilseeds and other vegetable oil crops in renewable bio-based jet fuel manufacturing.

    The research is aimed at developing new bio-based jet fuel manufacturing technology and crop feedstocks with vegetable oil compositions tailored for this technology.

    The research team will use camelina as an oilseed platform to develop vegetable oil formulations with shorter carbon chains that are better suited for the processing technology. These genetic strategies will be transferred to other vegetable oil feedstocks, such as soybean and oil-rich sorghum, which are currently being developed by university faculty for the U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI).

    Research at UNL builds on prior US DOE and Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research'funding. (Source: University of Nebraska, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL IANR NEWS, 17 Dec., 2019) Contact: UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 402-472-2081, www.unl.edu; National Institute for Food and Agriculture, www.nifa.usda.gov; U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, www.cabbi.bio

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Camelina,  Oilseed,  USDA,  National Institute for Food and Agriculture,  


    GRYFN, Purdue Univ. Partnering on Sorghum Biofuel Crop (R&D)
    GRYEN
    Date: 2019-12-09
    West Layfayette, Indiana-based drone technolgy pioneer GRYFN, which was formed by eight Pudue University professors, reports it is partnering with Purdue to research the rapid genetic improvement and production of sorghum crops for biofuel with $4.5 million in grant funding from the US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

    Multi-sensor, drone data-collection tech enables breeders to scale research operations and empowers them with precise, repeatable analytic solutions for high throughput phenotyping in the field. GRYFN is using the technology licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. (Source: GRYFN, Drone Life, Dec., 2019) Contact: Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, www.prf.org; GRYFN, Matt Bechdol, (260) 553-9993, info@gryfn.io, www.gryfn.io

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum Biofuel,  

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