As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to revitalizing America's manufacturing sector, today the Energy Department launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI).
The CEMI is a new Department initiative focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity. The initiative includes private sector partnerships, new funding from the Department, and enhanced analysis of the clean energy manufacturing supply chain that will guide the Department's future funding decisions.
"We are at a critical moment in the history of energy in our nation. Over just the last seven years, global investment in the clean energy sector has grown nearly five-fold to over $260 billion and these markets will grow into the trillions of dollars in the years to come," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. "Our nation faces a stark choice: the energy technologies of the future can be developed and manufactured in America for export around the world, or we can cede global leadership and import these technologies from other nations. As part of President Obama's plan to revitalize American manufacturing, the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative will seize this opportunity to ensure U.S. leadership in the clean energy sector and advance the global competitiveness of American manufacturers."
The announcement was made at the ribbon cutting of the Department's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a new advanced manufacturing facility to reduce the cost of carbon fiber—a critical material for efficient lightweight vehicles, next generation wind turbines, and a wide array of other consumer and industrial products.
Learn more about the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative
Engineering graduates have good job prospects, according to a new salary survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
New hires in professional, scientific and technical fields can expect a starting salary of $62,000, with government agencies paying an average of $67,000 per year. "The demand for engineering graduates remains strong, and that is reflected in the high starting salaries paid to these graduates," said NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes. The complete article can be found at The Sacramento Bee
The International District Energy Association (IDEA) hosted their 26th Annual Campus Energy Conference & Distribution Workshop in San Diego, CA on February 18-22.
With record attendance at over 720, this was the largest IDEA Campus Energy Conference to date. With the participation of over 100 Presenters and Panelists, nearly 100 Business Partner Exhibitors and Sponsors, IDEA is pleased to share conference content. Complete conference details can be found at the International District Energy Association
The Industrial Energy Technology Conference (IETC) 2013 announces that the Preliminary Program is now available.
This conference for industrial energy professionals and researchers is hosted by the Energy Systems Laboratory at Texas A&M University and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
The Industrial Energy Technology Conference (IETC) is a national conference 35 years
running that provides answers to energy and related environmental concerns affecting
industrial facilities and processes. The program outline is now available .
Why Engineers Earn More
A recent article published on ThomasNet examines why engineers earn more than other degreed professionals. The full article can be found Here
College Students could Win $100,000 in the Clean Energy Challenge
The ACC Clean Energy Challenge, supported by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), invites business plans with commercialization potential in the clean energy space, including projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements and advanced fuels/vehicles.
The winner of the competition will receive a $100,000 prize and compete in the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Finals. Complete details can be found Here
2013 ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource call for presentation proposals.
ACEEE is soliciting proposals for presentations to be included in the break-out sessions of our 7th National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource. Energy efficiency's economic and environmental benefits are in the spotlight as states and utilities strive to achieve and sustain unprecedented energy savings through customer energy efficiency programs.
You are invited to submit a brief presentation proposal by March 29, 2013. Complete details can be found on the ACEEE Conference Page
The 2012 IAC Lead Student Meeting was held in conjunction with the World Energy Engineering Congress at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
38 students representing each of the 24 Industrial Assessment Centers around the country attended the meeting this year as well as 2 student representatives from the Society of Manufacturing chapter at Tennessee Tech. All students in attendance were given access to the WEEC activities complements of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and OSU IAC alumni, Eric Woodroof. Many thanks to AEE and Eric for their generosity and hospitality. In addition to the WEEC activities, there were invited speakers and guests from DOE, ORNL and private industry discussing various aspects of energy efficiency and the role of the IAC.
In addition to IAC program management, the students had the opportunity to hear technical presentations from Navistar and Ingersoll Rand. Representatives from Energy and Resource Solutions (ERS), Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), CHA and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) were on hand to discuss the opportunities available to IAC students and alumni within their respective organizations. Students from eight separate IACs also gave presentations. Congratulations to Jesse Monn from the University of Dayton for winning the best presentation award this year.
The meeting concluded with a career panel discussion that gave the students some insight on what to expect as they depart the IAC and begin their professional careers.
View photos of the meeting. (PDF)
Presentations can be found Here
University of Dayton IAC students Mithun Mohan Nagabhairava and Dustin Pohlman have won second place in the DOE "Apps for Energy Challenge.
The Advanced Manufacturing Office has launched a new annual research awards competition to honor exceptional students in the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program.
Beginning this fall, each winning IAC will receive an additional $25,000 in IAC program funds. The research awards are designed to create incentives for students to pursue assessment-inspired research projects. The awards are intended to enhance traditional student-led research efforts and to formally recognize those research proposals that stand out as being exceptional and particularly innovative.
This year's five winning student projects are:
• San Diego State University: Mike Soda, IAC Student; Dr. Asfaw Beyene, Advisor
"Ultra Low Grade Heat Recovery Using Organic Rankine Cycle: An IAC Inspired Project": The goal of this project is to design, construct, and test a small-scale heat recovery Organic Rankine Cycle for industrial processes, with potential application to solar thermal recovery.
• Texas A&M University: Dr. Bryan Rasmussen, Advisor
"Multi-Disciplinary Senior Design Projects in Efficient Manufacturing": Two multi-disciplinary teams of senior undergraduate students will identify, prototype, and validate energy efficient designs for solving specific manufacturing problems at Allegheny Technologies Incorporated in Houston, TX. These teams will be part of a larger effort by IAC Director Dr. Rasmussen to create a recurring senior design studio focused on energy efficient design.
• University of Alabama: Hamid Najafi and Lee McNorton, IAC Students; Dr. Keith Woodbury, Advisor
"Outside Air for Compressor Intake": The goal of this research project is to systematically investigate air compressor operations under a variety of conditions to determine the effects of inlet air condition on overall system performance.
• University of Dayton: Dustin Pohlman, IAC Student; Dr. Kelly Kissock, Advisor
"Energy Efficient Humidity Control in Manufacturing": This research project investigates whether technological improvements to typical manufacturing air conditioning systems can meet humidity and cooling requirements more energy efficiently. The project will examine whether facilities with roof-top units could make cost-effective improvements to the control of those units that would reduce overall air conditioning energy consumption while still achieving moisture control.
• University of Michigan: Xinyu Ming, Dan Borgnakke, Marco Campos, and Sriram Yarlagadda, IAC Students; Dr. Arvind Atreya, Advisor
"Possibility of Combustion Furnace Operation with Oxygen-Enriched Gas from a Nitrogen Generator": This project will investigate the possibility of oxygen enrichment of natural gas furnace combustion air using exhaust gases from a nitrogen generator as a supply of additional oxygen.
The National Engineerw Week Foundation's New Faces of Engineering-College Edition returns to honor the nation's top third, fourth and fifth year undergraduate engineering students with scholarships and recognition.
Applications are now available at www.Facebook.com/CollegeEdition. The deadline for submission is Friday, November 16, 2012. Nominees will be announced during Engineers Week, 2012 (February 17-23) and winners will be announced on April 2, 2013.
More details can be found here (PDF 149 KB)
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Online Ethics Center (OEC) is sponsoring its first Ethics Video Challenge to promote consideration of ethical issues in the research and work life of scientists, engineers, and engineering students.
This year the contest topic is Energy Ethics. The contest encourages students to identify an ethical issue that is important for the nation's energy future and to produce a video that examines the ethical aspects and presents approaches to address them. Issues may involve energy research, production, consumption, and/or innovation.
The videos that result from this contest should clearly identify and portray ethical issues in energy research or innovation, including energy development, generation, distribution, or use. Videos should consider the ethical responsibilities of all the concerned parties or stakeholders. They can focus on domestic or international issues, and highlight issues of cultural diversity where relevant. They should address issues arising in either of two general areas:
The conduct of scientific and engineering research and development (R&D); and/or,
The roles and influence of science, engineering, and technology in society.
Detailed information on suggested themes may be found at The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Research
The on-line submission form is available at http://www.onlineethics.org/Projects/VideoChallenge/SubmissionForm.aspx
Challenge rules and procedures are detailed at http://www.onlineethics.org/Projects/VideoChallenge/2012Rules.aspx
The deadline for submission is Friday November 30, 2012, 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be announced in February 2013. Late submissions will not be accepted.
EPA AND DOT FINALIZE HISTORIC 54.5 MPG FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS. On August 28th, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.
The final standards were developed by DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA following extensive engagement with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states, and the public. Last year, 13 major automakers, which together account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards.
The new fuel efficiency standards are anticipated to save American families more than $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, resulting in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over the lifetime of the vehicle. Additionally, these standards are projected to reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil and reducing oil consumption by more than two million barrels a day by 2025. The standards aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, reducing emissions by six billion metric tons over the life of the program.
Major auto manufacturers are already developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 standards. In addition, a wide range of technologies are currently available for automakers to meet the new standards, including advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, diesel engines, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems.
The program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance, including:
Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles
Incentives for hybrid technologies for large pickups and for other technologies that achieve high fuel economy levels on large pickups
Incentives for natural gas vehicles
Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world greenhouse gas reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.
To read the final rule, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and click on the link "Read Final Rule."
Clarkson joins federal Industrial Assessment Center program. Clarkson University is teaming up with Syracuse University to offer free energy and efficiency audits to area manufacturers.
Clarkson was made a satellite campus of Syracuse’s Industrial Assessment Center, a federally-funded program that uses university students to provide the audits free of charge. “We were asked by Syracuse to participate,” said Kenneth D. Visser, Clarkson professor of aeronautics and mechanical engineering.“Apparently this year the IAC program allowed the establishment of satellites.”
The U.S. Department of Energy funds the program annually, said Jonathan Smegal, workforce development lead for the Department of Energy. “Nationally, it is funded in the neighborhood of $6 mil per year,” he said. “The lion’s share goes directly to the schools.”
As a satellite campus, it is unclear how much of the funding will go to Clarkson. “We’re kind of like Syracuse up here — they get the funding from the DOE and they’re like subcontracting out to us,” said Mr. Visser. The program benefits local manufacturers by reducing energy costs and increasing efficiency and productivity, said Mr. Visser.
“They’re small to medium size companies, not the big ones,” he said. “Companies can contact us, we get some names and send them down to Syracuse. Part of the reason for having a satellite up here is we’re two and a half hours north of Syracuse. Driving to a place like Plattsburgh is easier for us than Syracuse.” Mr. Smegal said involvement in the program adds prestige to host schools and their professors.
“These are selfless people, these are teachers, they benefit from the work that they do and it helps their careers,” he said. “There is the prestige and notoriety of being an IAC director. President Obama was visiting the University of Miami IAC earlier this year, and the Secretary of Energy was at one in Indiana.”
The audits also give students real-life work experience. “There’s a host of benefits,” said Mr. Smegal. “The schools are generating a new type of engineer, these are energy engineers, they have hands-on experience, they’re out of the lab and getting out into the industrial community and getting their hands dirty and learning a certain set of schools that are going to benefit them.”
Mr. Smegal said participation in an IAC gives students a career boost, too.
“Ninety percent of them leave school with job offers in hand,” he said. “Engineers don’t have much of an unemployment problem to begin with, but I have done some informal querying among IAC schools, they have a much higher percentage of job-in-hand when they leave. After they leave, they do great things.”
The audits are only required to focus on the energy use of small to medium-sized manufacturers, but past audits have also looked at productivity and waste-reduction.
Though Industrial Assessment Centers have existed for more than 35 years, they fit in well with the Obama Administration’s push for greater efficiency and more use of renewable energy.
“It is my favorite program,” said Mr. Smegal. “The program is a low-cost model. These assessments are one day, close to the campuses, and they benefit the companies, schools and students.”
Mr. Visser said the program meets many of Clarkson’s core principles as well.
“This meshes well with Clarkson’s position on sustainable energy systems, I push for that kind of stuff,” he said. “When there are opportunities to build upon our focus on sustainable energy, we go after them.”
To qualify for a free assessment, manufacturers must be within 150 miles of a satellite campus, employ fewer than 500 people and have gross sales below $100 million. If interested, manufacturers can contact Mr. Visser by phone at 315-268-7687 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written by Christopher Robbins, Times Staff Writer and originally published in The Watertown Daily Times
Clean Cities offers internships through the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program, which unites Clean Cities coalitions with students interested in changing the future of onroad transportation and in promoting alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles.
Each year, interns work with Clean Cities coalitions to increase awareness of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and their potential for petroleum savings. Interns work with coordinators and their stakeholders to plan events, analyze data, research markets, design websites, and promote initiatives through social media and public relations.
Examples of local internship projects include planning and implementing the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Odyssey Day in October, conducting fleet manager meetings, and working with campus fleet managers to promote using clean vehicle technologies.
More information about Clean Cities Internships can be found at EERE Clean Cities
In Minnesota, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman Highlights Clean Energy Industries That Are Driving American Manufacturing Growth. Secretary Poneman Calls for Tax Credits Extensions to Help U.S. Companies Win the Global Clean Energy Race.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman today highlighted how Minnesota clean energy companies and workers are supporting American leadership and global competitiveness in manufacturing during a series of events across the Twin Cities area. While in Minnesota, Deputy Secretary Poneman also called for the extension of clean energy tax credits to support American jobs, including for construction workers, technicians, welders, and other electrical workers.
"Minnesota is on the front lines of America's growing clean energy economy. Its innovative businesses and training programs will develop a workforce with the skills necessary for the manufacturing jobs of the future," said Deputy Secretary Poneman. "To grow our clean energy industry, President Obama has called on Congress to extend important federal tax credits, including the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, which supports technologies ranging from fuel cells and wind turbines to advanced vehicle batteries."
Deputy Secretary Poneman toured Daikin McQuay's technology center in Plymouth, Minnesota, highlighting the company's innovative manufacturing operations, which are helping industries around the world save money on energy costs. As one of the world's largest producers of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, Daikin McQuay is pushing the boundaries of energy efficient equipment and supporting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the global market. With the help of nearly $1.4 million in Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits, the company is expanding its Minnesota facilities to deploy new testing module that will produce more efficient, cost-saving technologies.
"The people of Daikin McQuay are looking to the future. They are innovators and leaders—and it's gratifying to see their work showcased," said Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik.
In the United States, industrial processes consume about one-third of the all energy produced in the country, representing a huge opportunity to boost American competitiveness through advances in energy-saving technologies. Daikin McQuay is the first company to meet the Energy Department's Rooftop Unit Challenge, which challenged manufacturers to produce commercial air conditioning units that use 50–60% less energy than traditional rooftop cooling units.
Today, Deputy Secretary Poneman also visited the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 343 Union in Rochester, where he met with workers and toured the union's clean energy job training facility. Local 343 offers a wind certification program for union members who are interested in construction, installation and maintenance jobs in America's growing wind energy industry. The Local 343 facility features a 60-foot turbine tower section to help train workers on deploying and maintaining wind turbine technology. Minnesota ranks fifth among U.S. states in total installed wind capacity and added the fourth most new capacity in 2011, with over 540 megawatts installed last year.
"Energy—how can we conserve as well as what are the alternate sources? Solar, wind and water are all great alternatives and are worthy of our continued exploration. The renewability is of great importance," stated Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.
Nationally, energy generation from wind turbines has grown by 27% over the last year, with production facilities now in more than 40 states. The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides an important tax credit to utility-scale wind producers in the United States and has helped drive this growth, is set to expire at the end of this year. The wind industry projects that nearly 30,000 jobs will be lost next year if the PTC expires, including direct jobs as well as those in the wind energy supply chain. Working in tandem with the PTC, the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit provides a 30% investment credit to manufacturers who invest in capital equipment to make components for clean energy projects in the United States. In his Congressional To-Do-List, President Obama has called for an extension of these successful clean energy tax credits to support continued growth of our nation's clean energy economy, create jobs and boost American manufacturing competitiveness and innovation.
Find more information on President Obama's call to extend the clean energy tax credits
Energy-Efficient Lighting has Lower Environmental Impact.
A new Energy Department report finds that LED lamps have a significantly lower environmental impact than incandescent lighting and a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
The report, LED Manufacturing and Performance, compares these three technologies from the beginning to the end of their life cycles, including manufacturing, operation, and disposal. The most comprehensive study of its kind for LED lamps, the report analyzes the energy and environmental impacts of manufacturing, assembly, transport, operation, and disposal of these three lighting types. It is the first public report to consider the LED manufacturing process in depth. See the LED Manufacturing and Performance report.
This is the second report produced through a larger Energy Department project intended to assess the life-cycle environmental and resource costs of LED lighting products in comparison with traditional lighting technologies. It utilizes conclusions from the previous report, Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps, released in February 2012, to produce a thorough assessment of the manufacturing process. See the the Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps report
The initial report concluded that CFLs and today's LEDs are similar in energy consumption—both consuming significantly less electricity over the same period of usage than incandescent lighting—and that operating these products consumed the majority of the energy used throughout their life cycles. Similarly, the new report finds that the energy these lighting products consume during operation makes up the majority of their environmental impact, compared to the energy consumed in manufacturing and transportation. Because of their high efficiency—consuming only 12.5 watts of electricity to produce about the same amount of light as CFLs (15 watts) and incandescents (60 watts)—LED lamps were found to be the most environmentally friendly of the three lamp types over the lifetime of the products, across 14 of the 15 impact measures examined in the study. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Solid State Lighting website
EIA Sees Energy Efficiency Slowing U.S. Energy Consumption.
Increased energy efficiency will contribute to a slowing of the annual growth rate of U.S. energy consumption from 2012 to 2035, expanding at an average annual rate of 0.3%, according to a new study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The agency recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which includes both a reference case and 29 alternative cases. By comparision to the lower projections, the U.S. growth rate of energy consumption was 1.8% in 2005. In the reference case, the share of U.S. energy generation from renewables is projected to grow from 10% to 15%. The report describes how different assumptions regarding market, policy, and technology drivers affect energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends.
According to the report, the slowdown in the rate of growth in energy usage reflects increasing energy efficiency in end-use applications, among other things. In one basic scenario, EIA estimates the overall U.S. energy consumption will expand at an average annual rate of 0.3% through 2035. During this period, the United States won't return to the levels of energy demand growth experienced in the 20 years prior to the 2008-2009 recession. The authors cite existing federal and state energy requirements and incentives as playing a continuing role in more efficient technologies. Additionally, new federal and state policies could lead to further reductions in energy consumption. The document also examines the potential impact of technology change and the proposed vehicle fuel efficiency standards on energy consumption. See the EIA press release and the complete report
Renewable Energy to Grow During the Next 5 Years.
Global renewable power generation is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next five years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, released on July 5, says that despite economic uncertainties, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable sources is projected to increase by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours by 2017. That amount would be roughly one-and-a-half times the current electricity production in the United States.
The study examines in detail 15 key markets for renewable energy, which currently represent about 80% of renewable generation, while it identifies developments that may emerge in other important markets. Of the 710 gigawatts of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%, with the United States, India, Germany, and Brazil also contributing to the growth. The report presents detailed forecasts for renewable energy generation and capacity for eight technologies: hydropower, bioenergy for power, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power, geothermal, and ocean power. Hydropower is projected to have the largest increase in generation, followed by onshore wind, bioenergy, and solar PV.
This expansion is underpinned by the maturing of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks. However, rapidly increasing electricity demand and energy security needs in recent years have been spurring deployment in many emerging markets. These new deployment opportunities are creating a virtuous cycle of improved global competition and cost reductions. See the IEA press release
Energy Department Invests in Innovative Manufacturing Technologies
The Energy Department announced on June 12 it has awarded more than $54 million for 13 projects across the country to advance transformational technologies and materials. These projects, which are leveraging approximately an additional $17 million in cost share from the private sector, can help U.S. manufacturers increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs.
The projects will be in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Utah, and will develop cutting-edge manufacturing tools, techniques, and processes that will be able to save companies money by reducing the energy needed to power their facilities.
From improving manufacturing processes that reduce the energy needed to make components for aircraft and vehicles, to lowering the production costs of carbon fiber for a wide range of clean energy products, these projects represent a major investment in the solutions that will transform energy-intensive manufacturing technologies and materials used by industry in the United States. The results of these projects could produce large improvements in energy productivity, reduce pollution, and boost product output, while creating jobs and helping American companies expand export opportunities globally. Each project will advance technologies early enough in their development cycles to permit the full scope of their technical benefits to be shared across a broad cross-section of the domestic economy. Collectively, these projects are part of the Obama Administration’s effort to support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development. See the DOE press release and the project descriptions
Popular Choice Winners Named for “Apps for Energy” Competition
The Energy Department announced on June 6 the Popular Choice winners for the "Apps for Energy" competition. "VELObill," the winner of the public vote, will receive $8,000, while "Innovative Solar Demand Response," took second place and will be awarded $4,000.
App developers submitted more than 50 innovative mobile and Web applications that will help utility consumers save money by making the most of their “Green Button” electricity usage data. The Popular Choice awards reflect the results of public voting, which ran from May 17 to May 31 and involved more than 12,000 participants. Other winners in the competition were selected by a panel of expert reviewers and announced May 22 at Connectivity Week, a gathering of smart grid industry leaders in Santa Clara, California. See the May 30 EERE Network News article on the previous winners
In April, the Energy Department launched Apps for Energy, challenging developers to create apps that were designed to make the best use of the data provided through the President’s Green Button initiative, through which nine major utilities and electricity suppliers will provide more than 31 million customers with access to data about their own energy use. The top Popular Choice winner, "VELObill," makes it easier for utility customers to view their energy usage, measure whether it is high or low, and compare it to that of their peers. With this information in hand, users can create an energy-saving action plan tailored to their individual needs and preferences. The second-place winner, "Innovative Solar Demand Response," sizes a solar photovoltaic and battery storage system based on the customer's average peak energy demand for each hour of the day. The system is sized to release stored energy during peak times, when energy production is more costly. See the DOE press release and the full list of "Apps for Energy" submissions.
Saving Energy and Money with Aerogel Insulation
By Leo Christodoulou, PhD, Program Manager, Advanced Manufacturing Office
Most of us are familiar with the classic Thermos bottle. The bottle keeps hot liquids hot with its vacuum insulation material—but without good insulation, the heat from the liquid is wasted. Likewise, on a much larger scale, about 950 trillion BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat energy is lost every year due every year to the poor insulation of pipes, valves, traps, and components from industrial steam distribution systems. This is almost one percent of total domestic energy consumption—the equivalent of wasting close to 165 million barrels of crude oil or just over 7,500 million gallons of gasoline.
As part of the President’s all-of-the-above strategy to solve America’s clean energy challenges, the Energy Department is investing in an innovative insulation material that saves energy and money for industrial facilities while also helping to support 50 full-time clean energy jobs for Americans.
With help from the Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, Aspen Aerogels created Pyrogel and Cryogel, insulation products that use aerogel insulation technology. Aerogel insulation saves energy and money because of its structure—which is comprised of lightweight silica solids that take up only three percent of its total volume. The remaining 97% of the insulation is composed of air in the form of extremely small pores. Because the air has little room to move, it traps the heat effectively – saving energy and money. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog
The Energy Department announced a three-part plan to help implement the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women's Initiative aimed at attracting more women to clean energy careers and advancing their leadership positions. The new program, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative, is designed to translate the goals of C3E into action in the United States.
The new components of the U.S. C3E action plan were announced at the Clean Energy Ministerial, a global forum of the energy ministers and leaders promoting clean energy technology and the transition to a global clean energy economy. Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States each committed to undertake meaningful activities to advance women in clean energy. The U.S. C3E plan includes drawing together ambassadors, a cohort of distinguished senior professionals sharing an interest in broadening the recruitment, retention, and advancement of highly qualified women in the field of clean energy.
Also, the DOE C3E Awards program will recognize mid-career individuals who advance the leadership and accomplishments of women in clean energy by offering six awards, including a cash prize of $10,000. Finally, an invitation-only symposium will be held on September 28, 2012, bringing together women and men to help build a strong national and international community of professionals who support women in clean energy. The MIT Energy Initiative, in partnership with the Energy Department, will sponsor this event.
Climate Policy Initiative (CPI)'s has completed an analysis of national systems that track emissions and activities to reduce emissions in the U.S., Germany, Italy, and China. The analysis revealed that existing systems allow these nations to determine if they are meeting their emission reduction targets, but do not allow them to identify which of their policies are most effective and efficient.
CPI's analysis, which examined the transparency, comparability, reliability, usefulness, timeliness, and completeness of each system, also indicated that:
- China is strengthening its capacity to produce greenhouse gas inventories, and is publishing a comprehensive annual report of mitigation activities. More transparent expert and public review of its data and methods would make its systems more effective.
- The U.S. has very strong emissions tracking systems, but lacks a systematic process to track the impact of all its climate mitigation policies. This hinders its ability to continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its policies.
- Germany has sophisticated and effective systems for tracking emissions reductions and many of its energy policies, however, the transparency and consistency of its full suite of mitigation actions could be improved.
- Italy has strong institutional expertise and systems in tracking emissions. Its systems for tracking mitigation actions are reliable but do not always measure their impact on greenhouse gas emission levels.
"As the adage goes, you can't manage what you don't measure," said Kath Rowley, director of CPI San Francisco. "Strong monitoring, reporting and verification systems of emissions and activities to reduce emissions are crucial for focusing political and financial capital where it will deliver the best results."
Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) is a global policy effectiveness analysis and advisory organization. Its mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations' efforts to achieve low-carbon growth. An independent, not-for-profit organization with long-term support from George Soros, CPI has its headquarters in San Francisco and regional offices in Berlin, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Venice.
Energy efficiency is gaining momentum in states traditionally ranked near the bottom of the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. While these states must address numerous barriers to energy efficiency, a real window of opportunity exists to move efficiency forward, according to a new report, Opportunity Knocks: Examining Low-Ranking States in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard (http://aceee.org/research-report/e126), released by ACEEE.
The report draws on a series of in-depth interviews with stakeholders in states ranked in the bottom ten of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The findings and recommendations of the report are applicable to numerous other states struggling to advance energy efficiency. "States are leading the way on energy efficiency, and while some have a head start, this report finds that every state can find ways to save energy," said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE and a co-author of the report. Despite their low rankings in the Scorecard, each of the states examined in the report have successfully improved their energy efficiency in at least some way.
Last week Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law energy efficiency legislation that directs all state agencies and higher education institutions to achieve at least 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. "Up until now, hundreds of millions of dollars each year have been wasted on practices like keeping the lights on in empty government buildings. We can now expect that money either to be returned to taxpayers or to fund core services like education, transportation, public safety and health care," said Fallin. Other states are beginning to realize the benefits from energy efficiency. In addition to Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina recently passed statewide building energy codes to ensure new homes and buildings are built to save energy from the start. A number of states, notably Kansas, have solid programs in place to plan and finance energy efficiency improvements in state government facilities.
While many more opportunities remain for these states, numerous barriers are holding up progress on energy efficiency. The most notable barrier is the perception that energy efficiency costs more than it is worth. "States have a great opportunity knocking at their doors. Energy efficiency is an investment, and like any investment, there is a cost and return. Our research shows that the benefits of energy efficiency improvements substantially outweigh their costs in the long run and deserve attention from utilities and state governments seeking to lower energy costs for consumers," said Michael Sciortino, ACEEE Senior Analyst and lead author of the report. The report finds that a number of actions can advance energy efficiency and do not require major government spending or regulatory action. Like Oklahoma, states can "lead by example" by advancing energy efficiency projects in government facilities as well as at universities and schools using innovative financing methods that allow projects to be paid for by using the savings generated by the installed energy efficiency measures. States can also adopt and enforce building energy codes, implement utility-sector energy efficiency programs where such programs cost less than building new power plants, and support deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) projects. "The policies and programs we recommend in the report are tried and true. States that were low-ranking in the Scorecard only a few years ago like Arkansas, Arizona, Michigan, and Tennessee have all raised their scores by using these approaches," said Rachel Young, a co-author of the report and Analyst at ACEEE. "We hope this report is instructive for leaders seeking ways to save money and create jobs in their states."
Google's Huge Offshore Wind Transmission Line Edges Forward. A proposed $5 billion transmission line connecting wind farms off the East Coast of the U.S. to the mainland is on track to come online by 2017, after the Google-backed project cleared another regulatory hurdle.
The Department of the Interior said there was "no overlapping competitive interest" in the areas earmarked for building the line, which clears the way for an environmental review.
However, the review of impacts on fishing, marine life and other factors could take up to two years to complete -- a scenario familiar to offshore wind farm developers who have been dogged by slow progress securing planning permissions. The $1 billion Cape Wind project off the Nantucket Sound, the first major offshore wind project in the U.S., has suffered almost a decade of delays mainly brought about by legal challenges from local residents.
The Atlantic Wind Connection line is intended to transmit up to 6 GW of electricity from yet to be constructed offshore wind farms along two, 250-mile-long parallel lines, strengthening the aging electricity network along the East Coast in the process.
Interior officials said the government hopes to start selling leases to wind farm developers in the coming months, although they could not say when offshore wind farms would start producing power for the region.
"The governors up and down the East Coast are extraordinarily interested in broadening out their energy portfolio with offshore wind," Tommy Beaudreau, the chief of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, told reporters in a teleconference.
"We have seen a level of engagement and interest by the governors ... in getting steel in the water."
In related news, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed progress on a proposed interconnector between Scotland and Norway joining the U.K. and Scandinavian electricity grids.
After securing grants of 50,000 euro from the Scottish European Green Energy Centre, which followed a 690,000 euro EU grant in March, work has now started on a cable route study while environmental assessments in the U.K. and Norway are also under way.
"From world-leading offshore wind, marine and hydro energy in the north of Europe, to massive solar power in the south, we have huge natural renewable resources, which must be harnessed in the most efficient way to deliver benefits for all the continent's citizens," Salmond told a conference in Norway yesterday.
"The NorthConnect project is an excellent example of the kind of grid interconnection that will be needed across the continent to ensure we maximize the contribution of all European nations to reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels, increase energy security and meet targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy generation."
DOE Releases Updated Steam System Informational Resources.The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) recently updated its popular collection of informational resources focused on steam system energy efficiency.
The primary reference book, Improving Steam System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry, 2nd Edition (PDF), is a comprehensive resource that educates readers about the basic components of steam systems, outlines opportunities for energy and performance improvements, highlights the benefits of utilizing a systems approach to managing steam, and directs readers to helpful resources. In the new edition, readers will find discussions about the following topics:
- Energy management standards for continuous improvement
- Standards-based assessment protocols
- A database of energy efficiency incentives
- Reference materials and assessment tools
In addition to the updated sourcebook, AMO has also released 27 companion tip sheets that offer low-cost, practical, "how-to" guidance on a variety of steam system management topics and techniques, including the following:
- Boiler upgrades and improvements
- Steam trap management
- Waste energy recovery
Collectively, these resources can help steam system users identify opportunities to optimize performance, reduce energy use, and save money within their operations. The updated sourcebook, as well as the 27 tip sheets, are now available for download—free of charge—on the AMO website. AMO is the lead government office working to identify, explore, develop, demonstrate, and deploy new, energy- efficient processes and materials technologies that will help U.S. manufacturers secure a competitive advantage in the global economy. Collectively, AMO's technologies and suite of technology deployment resources create opportunities for U.S. manufacturers to realize bankable results in productivity and energy savings while also reducing emissions.
President Obama Highlights Energy Department Efficiency Training Centers
That Save U.S. Manufacturers $5.6 Billion
During a visit to the University of Miami to highlight his administration's all-out, all-of-the-above approach to American energy, President Obama today touted the Energy Department's cost-cutting Industrial Assessment Program. The program supports university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) across the country, which provide students with critical skills and training to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of facilities, while producing real cost savings for small to mid-size manufacturers. To date, these assessments have helped save over 530 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy—enough to meet the energy needs of 5.5 million American homes—and have helped participating manufacturers save more than $5.6 billion in energy costs. Full Story
||The American Public Power DEED Program has numerous grant and internship opportunities.
||SFSU IAC is recognized in University News.
||Walker Valley High School partners with Tennessee Tech.