ASERTTI News

ASERTTI NEWS

UPDATED: Save the Date for the 2012 ASERTTI Fall Meeting – OCTOBER 10-12 - Seattle, WA

Please mark your calendars for the 2012 ASERTTI Fall Meeting, hosted by the Washington State University Energy Program, October 10-12, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  We hope you can join us for this two and a half day clean energy event. The agenda will include discussions and presentations addressing current research, site visits to industrial facilities, and networking with ASERTTI members and guests.  Agenda, lodging, and travel details will be posted on the ASERTTI website as they become available.  If you have any questions, please contact ASERTTI Program Director, Sarah Ruen Blanchard at sarah@asertti.org or 303-425-6800 ext. 463. 

ASERTTI Executive Committee Meeting Features NREL Presentations

On April 5, the ASERTTI Executive Committee held its monthly meeting, which featured webinar presentations by two guest speakers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.  The first speaker was Kate Cheesbrough, one of the organizers for NREL’s Industry Growth Forum.  Ms. Cheesbrough provided an overview of the forum, which is held annually in Denver, CO, and considered to be one of the nation’s premier clean energy investment events.  The second speaker was Mackay Miller, from NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center, who discussed a paper that he recently co-authored, Clean Energy Innovation: Sources of Technical and Commercial Breakthroughs.  Using U.S. patent data, Mr. Miller and his fellow researchers were able to map the landscape of low-carbon energy innovation in the United States since 1975.  His presentation discussed some of their fascinating findings. 

EPRI Tests Confirm Viability of Using Drones to Assess Storm Damage on Distribution Systems

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has completed tests determining that unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, can be used effectively to assess storm damage on utility distribution systems.  Conducted at the New Mexico State University Flight Test Center, the tests involved navigating several aircraft technologies and using high resolution video cameras to transmit images of power lines from a height of 5,000 to 7,000 feet. The tests determined that such images can be used by electric utilities to assess damage and pinpoint its location following a storm.  EPRI will also be evaluating drones and remote sensing technologies for inspection and assessment of overhead transmission lines. As part of this research, functional requirements will be identified for UAV inspection and market surveys will identify available UAV inspection technologies, services, and their costs.

Fueling the Future with Renewable Gasoline and Diesel
New IH2 Advanced Biofuels Technology Converts Non-Food Biomass into Cost-Effective Renewable Transportation Fuel

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) hosted an open house at its new Pilot-Scale IH2 Plant in Chicago, Illinois this week to demonstrate the successful efforts to broaden biomass-to-liquid hydrocarbon fuel conversion.  The IH2 Technology is a catalytic thermochemical process that promises to be a very cost-effective route to produce liquid transportation fuels from renewable resources. Based on assessments and calculations by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the technology has the capability to produce fuel with a U.S. Department of Energy estimated selling price of less than $2.00/gallon in commercial production.  The IH2 process can convert virtually any type of non-food biomass feedstock—such as wood, agricultural residues, algae, aquatic plants and solid waste - to a liquid transportation fuel that is interchangeable with crude-oil-derived fuels and is compatible with current fueling and vehicle infrastructure. In this way, the IH2 process differs from other biofuel technologies that produce crude or oxygen-containing intermediates that need substantial upgrading to meet current specifications for transportation fuels.  GTI has licensed the IH2 technology to CRI Catalyst Company (CRI), a company headquartered in Houston, TX, for worldwide deployment. The timeline to market is short, with commercial introduction expected in early 2014.

NATIONAL NEWS

White House Promotes a Bioeconomy
The New York Times

The Obama administration is expected to announce a broad plan this week to foster development of the nation’s “bioeconomy,” including the use of renewable resources and biological manufacturing methods.  The National Bioeconomy Blueprint, as the plan is called, discusses a variety of measures and strategies to spur research and development of medical treatments, crops, biofuels and biological manufacturing processes that would replace harsher industrial methods.  The plan lays out five strategies, all of which are already being pursued.  One is to support research and development, including by offering prizes for innovation. Another is to better move discoveries from the laboratory into commerce, in part by having companies get more involved with universities.  Two others are to improve education and work force training, and to encourage collaborations between the public and private sectors.  The fifth strategy, to make regulation faster and more predictable, is likely to be most welcomed by the biotechnology industry. Some pharmaceutical and medical device industry executives have complained that the F.D.A. can be too stringent and nontransparent, discouraging investment in their fields.

DOI Announces Next Steps for Potential Energy Development in the Mid- and South Atlantic

As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau announced that the Department of Interior (DOI) is taking steps to assess the conventional and renewable energy resource potential in the Mid- and South Atlantic. The draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), released for public comment, will help inform future decisions about whether, and if so where, leasing would be appropriate in these areas.  This milestone advances BOEM’s regionally-tailored approach to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) exploration and development, consistent with the Proposed OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, which stresses the importance of better understanding resource potential in the Mid- and South Atlantic. The draft PEIS assesses proposed geological and geophysical (G&G) activities, including seismic and other offshore surveys, in the Mid- and South-Atlantic planning areas.  To access the draft PEIS, go to www.boem.gov/oil-and-gas-energy-program/GOMR/GandG.aspx. The PEIS and related documents will also be available for public inspection tomorrow in the Federal Register at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

DOE Announces $9 Million to Improve Solar Forecasting

As part of the SunShot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $9 million available this year to help utilities and grid operators better forecast when, where, and how much solar power will be produced at U.S. solar energy plants. Enhanced solar forecasting will allow power system operators to integrate more solar energy into the electricity grid, and ensure the economic and reliable delivery of renewable energy to American families and businesses. This funding underscores the Obama Administration's commitment to boosting America's energy security, expanding the U.S. solar market, and increasing domestic energy production from all available sources, including solar.  For more information, see the full solicitation.

ARPA-E Issues $43 Million for Transformational Energy Storage Research Projects

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has issued approximately $43 million for two new programs to develop next-generation energy storage technologies that could significantly improve U.S. energy security and efficiency. These programs leverage partnerships with the Department of Defense (DOD) and small businesses to engage America’s brightest scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to research breakthrough electrical energy storage technologies for a wide variety of applications.  Advanced Management and Protection of Energy-storage Devices (AMPED) will fund research of advanced sensing and control technologies to dramatically improve the safety, performance, and lifetime of energy storage systems. These innovations will enable a new generation of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, and enhance the efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electricity grid.  The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are competitive U.S. Government funding programs focused on spurring innovation within the domestic small businesses community.

DOE Announces $2.5 Million to Advance Technologies for Clean-Burning, Efficient Biomass Cookstoves

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced up to $2.5 million available this year for applied research to advance clean biomass cookstove technologies for use in developing countries. The funding will support the development of innovative cookstove designs that allow users to burn wood or crop residues more efficiently and with less smoke than open fires and traditional stoves, helping to save lives and improve livelihoods. The DOE, along with other federal agencies, is a founding partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership to advance cookstove technologies that improve indoor air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and deliver important benefits for people’s health and the economies of developing nations around the world.  For more information and application requirements for the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.  For more information on DOE’s biomass cookstoves efforts, see the Summary Report and Energy Blog.

DOE Announces Up to $4 Million to Develop Wireless Chargers for Electric Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $4 million available this year to accelerate the development and deployment of wireless charging systems for electric vehicles (EVs). Developing wireless charging systems for light-duty EVs could accelerate the adoption of these energy efficient vehicles by making them more convenient to charge, both at home and away. The Administration's investments in electric vehicles are part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and help protect American families and businesses from spikes in oil prices.  As part of a planned three-year initiative, DOE will make up to $4 million available in fiscal year 2012 for awards under this funding opportunity. Pending successful completion of project milestones, DOE plans to make additional requests totaling $8 million from Congress, resulting in a total value of up to $12 million over three years for selected projects.  More information, including application and cost-share requirements, is available on the Department's Funding Opportunity Exchange website and applications must be submitted through that website to be considered for award. The Department expects to announce selections by summer 2012.

Minnesota's Applied Research & Development RFP

The Minnesota Department of Commerce (COMM), Division of Energy Resources is seeking proposals from organizations or individuals interested in applied research and development projects that serve to accelerate the development and adoption of new energy efficient technologies and strategies in Minnesota. The information obtained from this effort is intended to inform electric and natural gas utility Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) development and state energy policy. Up to $3 million in total is available for this particular Request for Proposal (RFP).  Proposals are due May 7, 2012.

EVENTS

ASERTTI Buildings Committee Webinar
Monday, May 21, 2012 – 1 PM ET
Please contact Sarah Ruen Blanchard, to register.

Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities – Sustaining a Commitment to Bioenergy
July 10-11, 2012 – Washington, D.C.

Save the Date for the Energy Services Coalition National Meeting
August 23-24, 2012 – Nashville, Tennessee

Save the Date for the 2012 ASERTTI Fall Meeting
October 10-12 - Seattle, WA