photo by CCRES
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events October 11, 2012
The Energy Department on October 5 announced new funding to evaluate the most promising technology paths toward achieving achieving $2 to $4-per-gallon equivalent of hydrogen by 2020. The funding will assist in the Department’s broader efforts to give drivers and businesses more options and to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.
To help meet this aggressive goal by 2020, the projects selected through this program will help identify cost-effective materials and processes to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources and natural gas. Researchers will also analyze production and delivery technologies to identify key technical challenges and priorities; they will also continue to evaluate technical progress and hydrogen cost status. This effort will include annual analyses of key technology challenges using the Energy Department’s hydrogen analysis models in addition to other industry tools. Applications are due by November 8, 2012. See the Energy Department Progress Alert.
The Energy Department on October 4 announced the winners of the thirty-first annual Federal Energy and Water Management Awards. These awards recognize the commitment made by federal agencies to invest in efficiency measures that save taxpayer money and increase U.S. energy security. This year’s award winners saved a total of 6 trillion Btu of energy, nearly 2 billion gallons of water, and almost $165 million during fiscal year 2011. Their initiatives also helped offset more than 78 billion Btu of fossil-based energy through a combination of renewable energy generation and purchases. The energy savings are equivalent to removing more than 100,000 cars from the road for one year, or eliminating the average annual energy use of more than 55,000 households.
This year, 33 individuals, teams, and organizations from across the federal government received awards for a variety of outstanding and innovative efforts that have improved energy, water, and vehicle fleet efficiency. Winners include staff serving the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy; the Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the General Services Administration; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Among other accomplishments, awardees implemented facility-wide changes to operations and maintenance practices, saving 580 billion Btu by upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment and by installing high efficiency lighting, building materials, and energy management control systems. This includes saving 78 billion Btu through the installation of renewable energy systems such as solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, cogeneration systems using landfill gas, and geothermal heat pumps. Some of those recognized demonstrated the substantial benefits of using performance-based contracts to meet mandated energy goals, while others pursued building facilities that meet the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification with state-of-the-art technologies and environmentally-friendly workspaces. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the complete list of winners.
NASA on October 3 announced the launch of the Big Data Challenge, a series of competitions hosted through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL). The Big Data Challenge series will apply the process of open innovation to conceptualizing novel approaches to using “big data” information sets from various U.S. governmental agencies. This data comes from the fields of health, energy, and Earth science. Competitors will be tasked with imagining analytical techniques and software tools that use big data from discrete government information domains. They will need to describe how the data may be shared as universal, cross-agency solutions that transcend the limitations of individual agencies.
The competition will be run by the NTL, which is a collaboration between NASA, Harvard University, and TopCoder, a competitive community of digital creators. The TopCoder Open Innovation platform and process allows U.S. government agencies to conduct high risk/high reward challenges in an open and transparent environment with predictable costs, measurable outcomes-based results, and the potential to move quickly into unanticipated directions of software technology. The National Science Foundation and the Energy Department are partners in the competition. Registration is open through Oct. 13 for the Ideation Challenge phase, the first of four idea generation competitions in the series. See the NASA press release and the competition details.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on October 4 announced new funding to modernize and improve the efficiency of rural electric generation and transmission systems. The announcement includes support for $9.8 million in loan guarantees for Smart Grid technologies in 10 states. The funds will go to entities in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. See the USDA press release.
Last month, the USDA announced that it had met its goal to finance $250 million in smart grid technologies in fiscal year 2012. In 2009, the Energy Department released the first Smart Grid System Report, which examined Smart Grid deployment nationwide. The report noted that Smart Grids have the potential to dramatically change how we manage electricity use in the United States. See the July 22, 2009 edition of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network News newsletter.
With nearly 300 sunny days a year, El Paso, Texas, is an ideal location for solar energy installations, which is why the city recently launched its first Renewable Energy Education Project using solar energy. Located in downtown El Paso’s Calvary Man Triangle, the project’s centerpiece—the Aztec Calendar Pavilion—is a domed-shaped public gathering and performance space made with a combination of steel, concrete, solar panels, light condensers, and crystal prisms. It incorporates Aztec designs, paying homage to the civilization’s impressive architectural accomplishments.
The pavilion provides four 110V AC solar-powered outlets where visitors can charge their electronic devices using clean solar energy. Excess solar energy will be fed back into the city’s power grid. Visitors to the pavilion will be able to have a unique educational experience learning how solar energy works and seeing a real-time digital readout displaying current energy usage statistics. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)