CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
December 14, 2011
DOE announced on December 12 more than $7 million in funding for four projects in California, Oregon, and Washington to advance hydrogen storage technologies for use in fuel-cell electric vehicles. The 3-year projects will help cut costs and increase the performance of hydrogen storage systems by developing innovative materials and advanced tanks. DOE is committed to advanced fuel cell technology research to help domestic automakers bring more fuel cell electric vehicles to market.
The selected organizations are providing close to $2 million in cost share for projects to lower the cost of compressed hydrogen storage systems and develop advanced materials for hydrogen storage. Compressed hydrogen storage provides a near-term pathway to commercialization, and reduced costs for compressed tank systems will accelerate their market availability and adoption. Advanced materials-based hydrogen storage technologies will enable more efficient storage at lower pressures than current compressed hydrogen tanks allow.
Among the projects, DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will use a coordinated approach to reduce the costs associated with compressed hydrogen storage systems by focusing on improving carbon fiber composite materials and the design and manufacture of hydrogen storage tanks. HRL Laboratories, LLC, of Malibu, California, will investigate an innovative approach to hydrogen storage using engineered liquids that can efficiently absorb and release hydrogen gas. DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and partners will use a theory-guided approach to synthesize novel materials with high hydrogen-adsorption capacities. And, a teamed headed by the University of Oregon, including DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will develop and test promising new materials for hydrogen storage. The proposed chemical-hydrogen storage materials could enable liquid refueling, and regeneration of the hydrogen-storage material, within temperature and pressure ranges suitable for both onboard mobile and stationary fuel cell applications. See the DOE press release and the Fuel Cell Technologies Program website.
DOE announced on December 8 a new pilot initiative to reduce hurdles that prevent innovative companies from working with the DOE's national laboratories. The new Agreements for Commercializing Technology (ACT) initiative will help businesses bring job-creating technologies to the market more quickly by allowing them to work with laboratories from start to finish developing and delivering new clean energy technologies and other innovations. In January, DOE will announce the laboratories selected to participate in the pilot.
The ACT initiative will remove barriers for businesses and startup companies interested in accessing the research, facilities, and scientists available at the national laboratories, catapulting innovative new products to the marketplace. DOE's laboratories have a long tradition of working with businesses and academia on scientific research and technology development efforts that have generated many advances, spawned new businesses and supported the creation of new industries and jobs. The ACT framework joins other current DOE legal mechanisms for working with the national laboratories, including the Work for Others Program and cooperative research and development agreements.
Addressing input from industries based on their experience working with the national laboratories, ACT authorizes a more flexible framework for negotiating intellectual property rights to facilitate getting technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. It also allows contractors operating laboratories to partner with businesses using terms that are better aligned with industry practice, attracting more private investment. ACT will allow the laboratories to participate in groups formed to address complex technological challenges that are of mutual interest. See the DOE press release and a list of frequently asked questions on the ACT initiative.
DOE released on December 7 the latest version of its building energy modeling software EnergyPlus, which calculates the energy required to heat, cool, ventilate, and light a building. EnergyPlus is used by architects and engineers to design more efficient buildings, by researchers to investigate new building and system designs, and by policymakers to develop energy codes and standards. Advanced physics calculations within EnergyPlus allow it to model a wide range of residential and commercial buildings and HVAC system types, including passive building designs and low-energy systems.
EnergyPlus v7.0 features many enhancements and has 25%-40% faster execution speeds on a wide variety of models. EnergyPlus is a part of DOE's strategy of Building Energy Modeling (BEM), a key technology that helps achieve DOE's mission of significantly reducing energy consumption in new buildings and retrofits. In addition to helping architects and engineers find low-energy building designs, BEM is used in the development of building energy efficiency codes and standards, in the creation of energy design guides, in the certification of building energy performance, and other applications. EnergyPlus v7.0 is available free of charge for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Source code licenses are also available. See the DOE press release and the list of latest enhancements.
This is the final 2011 edition of the EERE Network News (ENN) newsletter. ENN will return on January 4, 2012. We look forward to keeping you informed on the latest energy efficiency and renewable energy news.
Fueling the Navy's Great Green Fleet with Advanced Biofuels
From transporting the oil necessary to fuel jets and vehicles to supplying battery packs to infantry, energy plays a central role in almost everything the U.S. military does. Because of this reliance, it’s imperative that the military cultivate energy sources that are not subject to the whims of outside nations. While renewables like solar are playing a large role in this effort, advanced biofuels produced domestically are rapidly becoming another choice for transportation fuel.
The latest milestone in this effort to secure our energy supply is the December 5 announcement that the Defense Logistics Agency has signed a contract to purchase 450,000 gallons of domestically produced advanced drop-in biofuel on behalf of the Navy. This agreement builds off of a recent partnership between the Navy, DOE, and the Department of Agriculture to invest up to $510 million to produce advanced biofuels for military and commercial transportation—and it represents the largest of purchase of biofuel ever undertaken by the U.S. government.
By 2016, the Navy plans to deploy a Great Green Fleet powered entirely by alternative fuels. The advanced biofuels that will help fuel the Navy's proposed ships and planes could be made from a variety of biomass ingredients, in a number of regions across the country.
So, what's behind the rise of biofuels? In large part, it's been significant advancements in the pursuit of a better recipe for biofuels. Instead of processing commodities that might otherwise be used for food, next generation fuels can be produced from a variety of ingredients including those from dedicated energy crops like switchgrass, to the non-edible parts of corn plants, to unmarketable wood from the lumber industry—taking resources that would otherwise go to waste and using them to fuel our energy independence. See the Energy Blog post.
Drop-in Biofuels Take Flight in Commerce City, Colorado
Developing a robust, self-sustaining biofuels industry is key to our efforts to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to ensure a secure energy future. A crucial step in advancing a domestic biofuels industry is to establish integrated biorefineries across the country.
Biorefineries are similar to petroleum refineries in concept; however, instead of relying on petroleum or other fossil resources, biorefineries use organic matter to produce a variety of fuels, bioproducts, and chemicals, as well as heat and power.
The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy works in partnership with industry to develop, build, operate, and validate integrated biorefineries across the country at various scales (pilot, demonstration, and commercial). One such project, led by ClearFuels-Rentech, recently celebrated the completion of a pilot-scale biorefinery in Commerce City, Colorado.
Built with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the pilot-scale facility will convert wood waste, agricultural residue, and bagasse—the unused portion of sugarcane—into renewable diesel and jet fuel. ClearFuels has developed a process to thermochemically convert a variety of feedstock types—utilizing a combination of heat and chemicals to produce fuel. The "drop-in" biofuels produced at the facility will provide a direct replacement to petroleum-based diesel and jet fuel, without any need for changes to existing fuel distribution networks or engines. That flexibility will allow commercial and military planes to transition to a clean, domestic fuel source that not only reduces their environmental impact but also boosts national security by providing them with a domestic alternative supply. See the Energy Blog post.
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES(CCRES)