Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events April 12, 2012
The Energy Department announced on April 6 up to $15 million is available to demonstrate biomass-based oil supplements that can be blended with petroleum. Known as “bio-oils,” these precursors for completely renewable transportation fuels could be integrated into the oil refining processes that make conventional gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels without requiring modifications to existing fuel distribution networks or engines. The goal is to help reduce U.S. use of foreign oil and diversify the nation’s energy portfolio.
The Energy Department expects to fully fund between five and ten projects in fiscal year 2012 to produce bio-oil prototypes that can be tested in oil refineries and used to develop comprehensive technical and economic analyses of how bio-oils could work. The prototype bio-oils will be produced from a range of feedstocks. Domestic industry, universities, and laboratories are all eligible to apply. The results will inform future efforts directed at advancing bio-oil technologies and bringing these renewable fuels to market. See the Energy Department press release and the funding opportunity announcement.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on March 28 that 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.
This milestone advances BOEM’s regionally tailored approach to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) exploration and development, which stresses the importance of better understanding resource potential in the Mid- and South Atlantic. The draft PEIS assesses proposed geological and geophysical activities, including seismic and other offshore surveys, in the Mid- and South-Atlantic planning areas.
The PEIS also evaluates the potential environmental effects of multiple geological and geophysical activities in these OCS planning areas and, where needed, outlines mitigation and monitoring measures that will reduce or eliminate potential impacts. A variety of techniques is also used to understand the potential to site renewable energy structures and locate marine mineral resources such as sand and gravel. BOEM also uses geological and geophysical information to fulfill its statutory responsibilities to oversee the safety of offshore operations; support environmental impact analyses and protect the environment; ensure receipt of fair market value for leased federal lands; and conserve oil and gas resources. See the DOI press release and the draft PEIS.
The U.S. Department of Transportation on April 2 awarded $13.1 million to fund 11 innovative research and demonstration projects under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) National Fuel Cell Bus Program. The program advances hydrogen fuel cell power for transit buses and is designed to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and promote cleaner air.
The funds are shared by three consortia: Calstart in Pasadena, California; the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium in Boston, Massachusetts. The projects will directly impact organizations and municipalities in seven states, including California, Georgia, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All three consortia will engage in work to develop various fuel cell components, test U.S.-made buses under real-world conditions powered by fuel cells, and conduct educational outreach.
According to DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the FTA, every fuel cell-powered bus put into service in the United States could reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere by 100 tons annually and eliminate the need for 9,000 gallons of fuel every year over the life of the vehicle. For buses currently running on diesel fuel, that translates into a savings of more than $37,000 per year, per vehicle. See the Transportation Department press release and the project descriptions .
California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. joined with the California Public Utilities Commission on March 23 to announce a $100 million dollar fund for the construction of a statewide network of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). The plan calls for at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state. The funds come from a $120 million settlement with NRG Energy, Inc. that stems from ten-year-old claims during the state’s energy crisis. The settlement did not involve EVs.
The network of charging stations funded by the settlement will be installed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin, and San Diego County. The goal is to support cleaner air and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Governor Brown also announced that he has signed an executive order laying the foundation for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California’s roadways by 2025. In January, the California Air Resources Board voted to require the largest automakers to derive 15%, or about 1.4 million, of their annual California sales from EVs or other zero- or near-zero emissions vehicles by 2025. See the executive order and the governor’s press release.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on March 22 announced that 30 of its federal buildings, totaling nearly 117 million square feet, are participating in a challenge to achieve deep energy savings. The Deep Retrofit Challenge is asking energy service companies to make these buildings more energy efficient using energy service performance contracts (ESPCs). Retrofit projects at these buildings will contribute to the goals of a presidential memorandum on implementing energy savings projects and performance-based contracting. In December 2011, President Obama directed federal agencies to enter into at least $2 billion in performance-based contracts over the next two years to achieve substantial energy savings and create jobs.
Through the Deep Retrofit Challenge, GSA is asking energy service companies to provide the maximum energy performance savings possible for each of the participating buildings. GSA will learn with the energy service companies how best to achieve maximum energy savings through technology adoption, process improvements, and risk management, and will share that knowledge with both the rest of the federal government and the private sector.
At no net cost to taxpayers, ESPCs retrofit buildings for guaranteed greater energy performance. The retrofit projects are paid for through energy savings over time. An ESPC is an agreement between a federal agency and an energy service company. The energy service company conducts a comprehensive energy audit for the federal facility and identifies improvements to save energy. Sixteen energy services companies are pre-approved by and under contract with DOE to bid on these projects. The energy service companies consult with GSA on the designs, construct projects that meet GSA’s needs, and arrange the necessary funding. And, the energy service company guarantees that the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract. After the capital is paid back, any additional cost savings accrue to GSA. See the GSA press release.
Announcing $4 Million for Wireless EV Charging
Imagine being able to charge an electric vehicle—on the go or at home—without ever having to plug in.
A new funding opportunity from the Energy Department seeks to accomplish just that. We’re announcing up to $4 million to develop wireless chargers for electric vehicles (EVs). This funding opportunity is made available through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program.
EV wireless charging has the potential to accelerate the adoption of EVs—by making them more convenient for consumers to charge, whether they’re at home or away, and to reduce the total energy storage requirements of EVs, unlocking the benefits of lighter and smaller battery packs, lighter vehicles, higher efficiency and longer ranges. Read the complete story in the Energy Department’s Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)