Welcome New ASERTTI Member, the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR)

ASERTTI welcomes its newest member, the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR), at the University of California (UC) Davis. Founded in 1991 as a forum for multidisciplinary research and technology exchange between UC Davis and the food and agriculture industries, CIFAR has since become a strategic think tank and innovation hub for food-related technology.  The institute’s international network brings together scientists, industry, and business to collaborate on research in agro-food technologies and energy resource management that can be effectively transferred and applied to the U.S. food and agricultural industries.
Today, CIFAR participants include 42 active industry affiliates, 10 technology advisors, 26 faculty members, and five student interns.  Key projects are currently underway in industrial energy efficiency and biomass energy, among other areas of focus.  The Food and Beverage Industry Resource Management Program is funded by the California Energy Commission to support the efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance industrial best practices among California’s food and beverage manufacturers.  CIFAR works with industry associations and utilities to deliver DOE’s Best Practices Training Workshops; identify industrial companies to receive energy assessments; and disseminate information to encourage the adoption of energy-efficient manufacturing practices.  CIFAR is also conducting field research to evaluate the water-energy nexus in the food and beverage industries.
CIFAR engages in biomass and biofuel research through the Biorefinery Conversion Network, which focuses on creating methods to transform agricultural crops and other underutilized residues and process effluent streams into feedstocks for the production of homegrown fuel, feed, fiber and various other bioproducts.  Beyond partnering with researchers throughout UC Davis, including those at the Institute for Transportation Studies, CIFAR supports the California Biomass Collaborative.  CIFAR has also contributed to international projects in this field, collaborating with researchers in China and India.
CIFAR’s work encompasses a diverse range of food, agriculture, clean energy, and efficiency topics that will undoubtedly connect with the work of other ASERTTI member organizations.
ASERTTI welcomes CIFAR as its newest member and looks forward to supporting the center in its collaborative research efforts.

California Energy Commission Awards $1.5 Million For Smart Grid Research Projects

The California Energy Commission recently awarded $1,499,999 for two research projects addressing smart grid. Funding for both projects comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The smart grid is a system consisting of an electrical grid, a communication network, and computerized control systems to monitor, control, and manage the creation, distribution, storage, and consumption of electricity.  San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) will receive $1 million to install an advanced, wireless communications system that will be used to monitor and control smart grid devices. The Commission also approved $499,999 to the University of California at Los Angeles to implement automated demand response with the campus' smart grid communications platform.

Desert Research Institute Sets the Stage for Economic Development

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced a $2.8 million Economic Development Administration grant award to the Desert Research Institute (DRI) for critical roadway infrastructure to serve the Dandini Research Park.  The 328-acre Dandini Research Park, which encircles DRI and the Truckee Meadows Community College campuses, is designed to attract private sector companies seeking collaboration with the faculty, laboratories and research funding base at DRI.   The $2.8 million infrastructure grant was the outcome of the completion of the Dandini Research Park Master Plan, a $200,000 project funded by DRI and the Economic Development Administration in 2010.   In January of this year, the Dandini Research Park Master Plan was approved as a “project of regional significance” by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency.

Energy Center of Wisconsin Board Announces Leadership Realignment

With the goal of escalating the impact of energy efficient solutions, the Energy Center of Wisconsin Board of Directors announced a leadership realignment plan to position the organization for long-term success.  "The new leadership model is part of our overall vision to promote efficient use of energy resources, a healthy environment and a strong economy," said Laura Williams of Madison Gas and Electric, president of the Energy Center Board.  "We have created new leadership roles that we believe will better prepare the Energy Center for the next generation of clean energy challenges," said Williams. "Beginning April 2, Frank Greb will join the Energy Center as our first president and Marge Anderson will move into the newly created position of executive vice president."

EPA Recognizes NYSERDA with 2012 ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) with a 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of its continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency.  The 2012 Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a select group of organizations that have exhibited outstanding leadership year after year. Winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, employing innovative approaches and showing others what can be achieved through energy efficiency.  The award recognizes NYSERDA’s ongoing leadership across the ENERGY STAR program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes and buildings in the commercial, industrial and public sectors.

EPA Recognizes NEEP and Regional Energy Efficiency Programs with 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Northeast Retail Products Initiative a 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of its continued leadership in protecting our environment through energy efficiency. The Initiative is facilitated by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and made up of utilities and energy efficiency program administrators in New England and New York.  During the last twelve years, the Initiative has won 13 awards including six Excellence Awards, one award for Excellence in Product Labeling, and six Sustained Excellence Awards- the most prestigious.


DOE's AMO to Hold Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub Workshop in April

The Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) at the U.S. Department of Energy will host a workshop on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 in Arlington, VA to discuss foundational aspects for a Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub. Plans for Hub RD&D include identifying more efficient use of critical materials in energy technologies and improving the efficiency, and reducing the production costs, for supplies of critical materials. The workshop discussion will focus on RD&D to help domestic manufacturers mitigate the risks associated with critical materials shortages or disruptions.  The workshop will provide fundamental information on the Hub vision, the program objectives, and the anticipated Funding Opportunity Announcement for "Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub." The preliminary agenda for the workshop includes overview presentations by government personnel, an information session to respond to questions from participants, and a networking session to facilitate interaction among the workshop participants.  Get more information and register at

Whitfield Wants Obama Admin to Study Regs’ Impact on Price Hikes

As reported in E&E Daily, a House Republican bill from Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) to be introduced later this week would require the president to establish an interagency panel to determine what is behind rising gas prices, focusing especially on the effect of an array of upcoming environmental rules.  The bill would target regulations from U.S. EPA, including the so-called Tier 3 requirements to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline, greenhouse gas emissions limits for oil refineries, renewable fuel standard requirements, a new air standard for ground-level ozone and other rules, Whitfield said. It also would examine broader trends in global oil markets that are causing prices to rise.


Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI)

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  Pre-Applications are being solicited that integrate all three of the technical topic areas: feedstocks development; biofuels and biobased products development; and biofuels and biobased products development analysis.  Pre-applications are due April 24, 2012. 

Scientific Collaborations at Extreme-Scale

The Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) of the Office of Science (SC), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), invite applications for research and development that represents transformational advances in scientific collaboration systems and distributed data systems addressing the fundamental challenges related to extreme-scale science collaborations.  Applications are due April 27, 2012. 

DOE Offers $5.2 Million for Building Efficiency Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on March 9 the availability of up to $5.2 million in fiscal year 2012 to develop improved building efficiency technologies. This funding opportunity includes advanced heating and cooling systems and high efficiency insulation, windows, and roofs. The funding will advance the research and development, demonstration, and manufacture of innovative building technologies to speed the commercialization of affordable, high-performance products.  Applications will be accepted through April 17, 2012. See the DOE Progress Alert and DOE's Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

ARPA-E Announces Teaming Partner List for New Funding Opportunity on Sensing and Control for Energy Storage Management

ARPA-E plans to issue a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) early next month entitled “Advanced Management and Protection of Energy-storage Devices” (AMPED). The objective of the AMPED FOA will be to identify and support novel, high-impact sensing and control technologies that can significantly increase performance and accelerate adoption of energy storage systems. The AMPED FOA will draw in part on information received in response to the Request for Information “Advanced Technologies for Robust Control of Energy Storage,” issued on February 17, 2012.  To facilitate the formation of new project teams, ARPA-E will publish a list of potential teaming partners in conjunction with the release of the FOA. To include your organization in this list, follow the instructions in our Teaming Partner List Announcement. ARPA-E is particularly interested in receiving responses from organizations with expertise in the following focus areas: battery manufacturing, battery testing, electric vehicles, grid-scale energy storage, electric vehicle charging, battery safety, sensors, controls, communications, and power electronics.


DOE's AMO to Hold Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub Workshop
April 3, 2012 – Arlington, VA
2012 Michigan Energy Conference
April 12, 2012 – Grand Rapids, MI
Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities – Sustaining a Commitment to Bioenergy
July 10-11, 2012 – Washington, D.C.